Managing the Millennial Generation

Getting the most out of your millennial employees takes more than beers and beanbags

Generational changes have always been a part of the continuously developing workplace, so managers today might not think too much about the transitional changes that lie ahead. The millennial generation might be regarded as a rather different bunch, but should that be a cause for alarm for existing managers? The answer is a definite yes, and if you don’t manage to change your management behaviours soon, your business could be in for a lot of trouble.

The truth is, the new generation of employees reject almost every aspect of our current business practices. They strongly detest traditional hierarchy and two-thirds of them don’t even approve of their existing manager’s style. Employee satisfaction is at a record low at a time where 64% of millennials would rather make $40,000 in a job they liked than $100,000 in a job they didn’t. Things that didn’t matter so much to past generations such as social responsibility now matter the most, with 88% of millennials only looking for employers whose CSR values matched their own. Satisfying the new generation of employees will take a lot more than just bringing in beanbags and rest pods, so here are a few important steps to keeping a happy relationship with your new generation of workforce.

Appreciate their work/ life balance

Research by PWC showed that a healthy work/ life balance is seen as the biggest motivator in millennial employees - valued far above promotions and financial bonuses. Millennials cherish their free time dearly and so it’s worth being careful that your organisation acts carefully not to intrude on it. As a manager, try and promote a healthy work/life balance for your employees by offering the most flexible contracts possible and simply ensuring that your staff get home on time at the end of the day. Consider this aspect a mutual agreement; if you can ensure that your employees’ work isn’t eating into their own lives, then they will be far more willing to help your organisation in its own ambitions.

Involve them with decisions

Millennials were brought up believing that their opinions mattered, and that everyone deserves the right to be listened to. This could perhaps explain why a lot of millennials feel disenfranchised in their current work as many are still not involved in the decisions taking place that directly affect them. While they will still respect a manager’s authority, the new generation of employees should be regarded as far more personal and will pay considerably more attention to the managers that listen back to them in return. Studies have shown that involving employees in decisions is a great way to combat the increasing levels of detachment occurring within modern workplaces.

Provide them security

Any conception that millennials are cold or detached are simply misguided, as the widely misunderstood generation are really just looking for a sense of belonging. Many recent events, such as the burst of the housing market and the subsequent credit crunch have given millennials plenty to fear when it comes to their security and belonging. Despite high hopes, the generation looks to be worse off financially and earn relatively less than any previous generation. Many are unsure if they will ever own a home as housing prices have skyrocketed, leading landlords to describe them as “generation rent”. With all this in mind, it becomes clear that its part of a manager’s role to encourage a sense of belonging for these employees at work, so try and make them feel secure within the organisation by offering permanent contracts and bringing a sense of community to the office. Employees who feel comfortable with their position in work are less likely to move out and will often show higher levels of commitment to their organisation.

Help them Recognise their Achievements

Millennials have long had a stigma for being unmotivated, yet statistics have shown them to have the highest levels of commitment across any previous generation. The problem instead could be that employees are feeling unengaged in their work as they are not seeing enough direct results for the work that they produce. Helping employees to recognise their achievements by incorporating regular appraisal meetings and offering increased responsibilities can be a great way to increase their enthusiasm and commitment in the company. Research conducted by PWC listed that 71% of millennials who left their previous job gave a lack of ability to develop their leadership skills as a reason for leaving, so empowering employees with a chance to teach newer staff would also be a great way to help them feel valued and feel they are progressing their skills while working for your business.

Millennial employees should be a entirely different set of people, and how you perceive and treat them is bound to have an impact in your organisation’s results. Luckily there is plenty of information available online to get a better understanding of millennials unique beliefs and plenty of good practices which can help you get the most out of this exceptionally savvy and intelligent generation.

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