Managing millennials

April 17 2018
Managing millennials

As millennials slowly become the main demographic of the workforce, it is important for managers and employers to recognise the cultural changes that they will bring to the workplace. The millennial generation has been labelled many things in the last decade, most of it uncomplimentary, but they have a wide range of abilities that businesses need for the future. Bringing the best out of millennials will mean updating management views and engaging more closely with this generation.

Provide flexibility

As digital natives, millennials see technology as providing infinite opportunities for disrupting the way people work. The idea of time logged at a desk as an indicator of productivity is antiquated and doesn’t fit with the millennial imperative of working to live, rather than living to work. Smart businesses experiment with work-based models, rather than simply the number of hours chained to a desk. Allowing employees to choose when and where they work may yield greater results, both in terms of the projects and employee happiness.

Create a team environment

No one likes their job to feel like they’re back in school. Businesses function best with the free flow of ideas and knowledge, regardless of the source. The traditional business hierarchy, with KPIs and politics, often means that there is more concern about fighting for their patc of territory as a manager or older team member, rather than finding the best solution. Creating an open atmosphere where the oldest team member can learn from the youngest, and vice versa, will help everyone feel valued and teach people new skills. As a manager, the simplest way to create this type of team is to forget the stereotypes. Ultimately, each person is an individual, regardless of their age, and any input should be assessed solely on its merits, not the source.

Provide a path

Having grown up in a world of corporate spin and pushy marketing, millennials are less inclined to be impressed by trendy perks. Sure, a table tennis set might make for a fun lunchtime diversion, but if that’s all a role has going for it then your millennial employee will soon be looking for something more satisfying. They want to feel that their work has purpose and is leading them onto something bigger and better as they grow into their role. This is why millennials are attracted to the start-up environment and the chance to see just how their work fits into the big picture. Allowing your employees to help drive the direction of the company and see where their work leads is a powerful motivator for employee happiness and retention, and building a positive environment.