Do You Wish To Manage The Millennial Employee?
Got millennials in your workforce? Of course you do. Are they tech savvy, hyper connected, result driven, freedom loving, collaborating, and self-confident? Or are they incompetent, laid-back, impatient, arrogant, stubborn, and self-centered? It depends on how managers perceive this particular generation of the workforce. And this perception will influence how managers deal with them.
What is required to effectively manage the millennial employee? What strategy should managers adopt? Managers need to understand the personal and professional goals of the millennial employee and how these differ from the earlier generations. Managers will have to show empathy and be creative, patient and flexible in their approach to deal with millennial employees.
Millennials want the flexibility and freedom to adjust their work schedule to fit into their life rather than the other way round. Managers need to understand that they cannot chain millennials to a cubicle in 9 to 5 work schedules. As long as the work is getting done and deadlines are being met, does it matter from where millennials perform their job? Managers should provide flexible work schedules wherever possible to improve productivity.
Millennials have a strong desire for creativity along with varied and stimulating career opportunities. Why not invest in their growth if it helps to engage and retain them? Managers could frequently put them on special rotational assignments, challenge them to come up with new ways to streamline processes, and provide learning and training opportunities. This will not only motivate them, but also satisfy their desire to create, contribute and grow.
The millennial generation does not have the patience for traditional business hierarchies. They believe that career advancement should not be built on seniority and tenure of service but on talent and results. So why not stoke the ambition of those who show the drive and potential to rise up the ranks quickly? It is possible that it could lead to a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
The millennial employee has a need to know the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of everything that they do. One reason could be that the internet provides them with information and answers to complex problems instantly. That is why they resent taking any orders without explanation to its purpose. This should not be viewed as arrogance but on the contrary, managers should involve their employees in decision-making and planning by inviting suggestions, inputs and feedbacks.
The millennial employee wants to see instant results. He feels ignored if he doesn’t have access to his managers, and doesn’t get constant feedback and rewards. This does not mean that millennials are greedy and looking only for promotions. Managers can think creatively to adapt to this mind-set by considering additional brainstorming and feedback sessions. Rewards can also be creative such as providing paid time off instead of the traditional cash bonuses.
There is no debate about the fact that millennials are way different from any other generation before them. But managers have a choice – they could choose to stereotype the millennials who go against the typical office norm, or embrace the differences and leverage it to the organization’s advantage. It is definitely in the interest of managers and organizations to tap into the millennial talent market which is increasingly populating the workforce today.