Note: This is a reblog of a post that I trot out in June for those who are graduating with plans to embark on a career. These are real life tips that the bosses of young professionals may find useful.
According to a Wiki how blog, “How to Work With Millennials,” it behooves those who will be managing these young peoples to learn the best practices on how to best motivate these young professionals to produce to their company’s benefit. These young folks are described as the most educated generation who will eventually comprise about half the workplace. If they are not treated well at their workplace, they will simply leave your employ rather than deal with the conflict.
The Millennials or Gen-Y young professionals are defined as being part of that generation born between the 1980s and the mid-1990s, comprising about 50 million young peoples. They have the reputation of growing up in an era when they were catered to and spoiled by their parents while being told by them and others, that they could accomplish anything they wanted. They were the ones who grew up believing that they were all winners and this is why everyone on a team would receive a trophy. Subsequently, they have been stereotyped as young people with an inflated sense of entitlement, and for having a poor work ethic. On the plus side, they have all grown up in the computer age, becoming very tech- savvy. In general, they are comfortable in working in small groups with others from diverse backgrounds. They tend to be social, optimistic and great at multi-tasking.
Suggestions proffered in the WikiHow post are:
“To learn how to work with Millennials, you should focus on being a mentor, avoiding confrontation, providing a structured, social workplace, and giving feedback that makes them feel like they are valued co-workers and employees.”
1.) Be a mentor. Millennials are looking for personal, meaningful relationships. This goes for their boss, their coworkers, and even their own relationship with their work. If you’re a mentor, you can help them feel valuable and get them pointed in the right direction. They’re still young and malleable; you could help mold them into something impressive.”
‘Model professional workplace behavior and expectations by demonstrating the way a task should be executed in great detail. Since many Millennials don’t have real world work experience, offer your Gen-Y co-workers resources that will help them to complete assigned tasks.”
2.) “Define work expectations. It’s important to provide Millennials with concrete examples of what is expected of them in their jobs. Make sure they understand in detail the tasks you are assigning them to complete. Offer constructive criticism and praise as appropriate – they appreciate having a sense of how and what they’re doing.
A written job description can help keep Millennials on task with job expectations. They’re very good at looking at something point blank and sticking to it – again, so long as everything is defined in the first place.”
3.)”Over-communicate with feedback, rewards, and punishments. Again, Millennials expect nothing short of the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And they can handle it. They want to know exactly what is expected of them and how they’re doing – and they demand to be rewarded or punished accordingly. If you keep them out of the loop, they’ll feel a lack of direction and purpose that will likely reflect in their work (or lack thereof).”
“When someone does well, it’s not only important to tell them, but to tell the entire team. Millennials tend to develop close relationships, and if Kristie got promoted over Louis, then the team will want to know why. Be explicit. Let them know exactly why golden-boy Louis got passed up by Kristie, and how others could follow her example.”
“Rewards and punishments go a long way with Millennials. It not only makes their performance clear, but it validates how they feel about their work. But when it comes to punishments, just be sure to state your logic as clearly as possible.”
4.)”Treat Millennials as valued members of the staff. Since childhood, this generation has been asked their opinion and been forced to make their own decisions. They’ve been treated as adults, by and large. Because of this, they view themselves as having something to offer the organization; it’s not just them needing a job. If you treat them like they matter, they’ll be happy to stay on.”
“Include Millennials in discussions about work tasks. Encourage them to contribute opinions and ideas. Resist the urge to treat Millennials like children, especially if your own children are around the same age.’
Ask Millennial co-workers for their input on how to improve technology in the workplace. They are often on the cusp of what’s new and up-and-coming.
5.) Give them meaningful work whenever possible. Millennials have skills. They have value and can get the work done. Because of this, they believe their work should reflect their value, too. Whenever possible, give them work that has a purpose. They’ll do it better because they believe in it.
However, we all know that mundane, trivial work sometimes has to be done. When this is the case, explain to them how it has to be done for the larger benefit of the company. This has its own purpose and meaning and can help them see that even the smallest tasks have value.
‘Once you have assigned a task, allow Millennials to work independently, but keep the door open for them to ask questions.”
6.) ‘Figure out their goals, because their job is everything. Generations ago, work was just work. You came home to your family and that was your life. Nowadays, not so much – work is life. When these kids go to a party, they are defined by their job. Their title is everything. Their work determines their happiness, not always the other way around.”
“Everyone is motivated by different things. If you develop closer relationships with them, you’ll be able to get at what they want out of their work (which is their life).”
“Make an effort to get to know your Gen-Y co-workers to discover what their goals are and the role they wish to play in the workplace. Be open to ideas presented by Millennials even if they differ from traditional business practices.’
7.) “Allow them their say. Millennials were taught to speak up, raise their voice, and say something if they were unhappy or if something needed changing. They have an audacity that previous generations often didn’t have, especially in the work place. So when meetings roll around, get their opinions. They have important things to add.”
“Not all their ideas will be conventional, but consider that a good thing. They often have new-fangled ideas that wouldn’t occur to older generations. They know technology like the back of their hand and can be quick to offer ideas that can actually improve the company.”
Frankly, the above style of management would have been welcomed by all employees across all age brackets. What is different this time, is that these young trend makers will not tolerate anything less in the workplace. They simply will leave to another organization that will value them by treating them with courtesy, respect and decency.
Dear businesses, The rules have changed in how to manage your employees. Don’t adjust at your own peril. These young professionals will not only leave your company, they are expert at social networking. Future bright applicants will be well aware if your company has a less than stellar work culture. Remember, that in today’s age, that you are also being evaluated.
If as a company, you are aspiring to create a positive work space for your employees, please take the extra steps to protect them with anonymity when you request widespread constructive feedback. Only top management should have access to this data. If you don’t do this, you will then be exposing some shining stars on your workforce to retaliatory measures by those on the lower management levels. (I’ve personally observed a law office which had problems like this.)