It’s official, in the US, younger workers aged between 18 and 31 (Millennials) have recently surpassed Gen X’s, to comprise the largest share of the workplace. How are we going to survive in business with all these young, mollycoddled, self-absorbed, lazy people taking up the bulk of the workforce? I know some of my generation find it really hard to connect with the younger generation as they do have a way of doing things differently.
Far from being a crisis, it is a very exciting time as younger workers bring fantastic skills to the workplace, we just need to know how to harness this. Thanks to Zeynep Ilgaz in an article she wrote for Entrepreneur, she shared 7 excellent tips on how to get the best out of this younger generation. I thought these were well worth sharing:
Change it up.
Millennials thrive in environments of creativity and change. They don’t like to stay static for long and constantly look for fresh ways to ramp up productivity and efficiency. This attitude can be an amazing asset to your company, so use it. Ask them for suggestions, chances are, they’ll come up with something new and exciting.
Give them independence.
Millennials don’t need much hand-holding. They’re happiest when given responsibility and independence at work. As the generation of startups and coding languages, Gen Y’s love creating something from nothing. Don’t micromanage this group; give them space to take initiative.
Create a diverse workplace.
Generation Y is the most ethnically diverse generation in history and actively looks for workplaces with a similar blend of cultures and perspectives. Having a variety of experiences, viewpoints and backgrounds is a wonderful advantage for your company. Show millennials you’re on their wavelength by diversifying your workplace, and they’ll want to work for you.
Invite them into tech conversations.
Millennials are naturally tech-savvy. In fact, 53% of millennials say they’d rather give up their sense of smell than their digital devices. So give them a chance to show what they can do.
Instill meaning in their work.
Millennials are obsessed with meaning. According to the2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey, most millennials choose jobs based on their “sense of purpose.” They want to make a difference and will soon leave if they find more meaning someplace else. Give your millennial team members a reason to stick around by always connecting tasks to your company strategy and objectives. They’ll use that purpose as fuel for innovation.
Invest in their continued education and growth.
Millennials are a highly educated bunch, having more university degrees among them than any other generation. They work best in companies where co-workers and superiors look out for them as individuals, not just resources, and value their growth and continued learning. Become a mentor to your employees so they feel comfortable talking to you when problems arise.
Provide regular, honest feedback.
Another way to get the best out of your millennial workforce, according to Millennials themselves, is to provide consistent feedback. In research by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, millennials crave regular feedback from their managers. Whether it’s praise or improvement feedback, Millennials want to hear it. Feedback makes this group feel more connected and in control, and maximizes their output.
When preparing for the millennial rush, it’s important to keep in mind that making employees feel valued, empowered and engaged at work is a fundamental need, not a generational issue. These practices should underpin companies of all shapes and sizes.
Embedding values of teamwork, feedback, diversity, mentoring, purpose and innovation into the fabric of your company will keep it ahead of the curve. Your team will pull together during the tough times and prosper through the good times. So appreciate your millennials’ unique skill set, and they’ll repay you with relentless passion to see your goals through.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.