The millennial workforce is arguably one of the most widely debated, analyzed and discussed generations since the baby boomers—and a demographic that is largely misunderstood. By the year 2025, Millennials will comprise a whopping 75% of the workplace, according to Deloitte. As millennials quickly become the largest generation in the workforce, it’s critical for older generations to adopt methods of communication to effectively engage with the millennial generation.
Our research indicates that the biggest disconnect Generation X and Baby Boomer managers face with millennials is interacting with the younger generation the same way they were brought up in the workforce, rather than providing traditional leadership based on what millennials employees need. While older generations could thrive in a sink or swim environment, millennials seek guidance and constructive feedback. While this may seem foreign to non-millennial leaders, it’s important to adopt new standards of management to ensure this segment of the workforce is successful.
3 Tips for Leading and Managing Millennials
- Budget time for training, coaching and directing. Developing millennials in the workplace is something that requires a significant time investment in order to empower them in their roles. Company leaders must make themselves available to train, coach and guide millennials so they feel confident and committed to their position at the company. Investing the time on the front end, will allow them to be more effective on the back end as they take on more responsibility.
- Forget about sink or swim. Gone are the days of throwing a new hire in the deep end and expecting them to swim. While that is the way many Gen X and Baby Boomer leaders came up in the workplace, it isn’t effective with millennial talent—not because they are soft or entitled—but because they were simply trained differently. Research from JB Training Solutions shows that millennials appreciate structure and want to be told what to do, unlike their Boomer and Gen X bosses. A structured environment will help millennial talent to thrive.
- Establish a Relationship. A productive workplace is one where employees feel safe and comfortable enough to share what they need and want from a leadership standpoint. “The best managers make a concerted effort to get to know their employees and help them feel comfortable talking about any subject, whether it is work related or not,” say Jim Harter and Amy Adkins in Gallup article “Employees Want A Lot More from their Managers.” Those managing millennials should empower them by establishing an open line of communication starting with the onboarding process. Build rapport and confidence by creating a safe environment, ultimately encouraging millennials to take risks and develop ideas.
In this day and age of multi-generational workforces, different age groups respond differently to specific managerial tactics. With the continued growth of the millennial workplace, it’s important to consider the management tactics that will empower this demographic most effectively. Carver Peterson works with corporate leadership to approach the unique needs of the millennial age bracket to maximize their performance in the workplace. Please contact us for more information.