We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. But they've got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.' –Timothy Leary
What if the tweets about the gloomy weather, Facebook updates about spilled coffee, violation of dress code or entering the office way past official timings– are all accompanied by stupendous work performance?
Millenials continue to be an acquired taste for the older generations.
But no one seems to be complaining, as they’re the ones’ who are setting new standards of creativity and aptitude in today’s changing workplace ethos.
As the Gen-Y gears up to constitute about 75% of the workforce in the US by 2025, it is important to shed some light on how to best keep your finest Millenials by your side in the long haul.
1) Appreciation, before hierarchical growth!
Millenials see their careers differently. Growth isn’t just centered around leapfrogging the corporate ladder. They look for an environment where acumen matters more than experience on paper.
It is good to have them around in the meetings, as they’ll mostly speak their minds instead of nodding along to align with the boss.
This is primarily because, let’s face it–Millenials don’t have much to lose. It’s the start of their careers, they’ll have plenty of chances to know which way the wind blows. Secondly, they have an inherent need to be acknowledged, to be valued.
There are times when a junior employee’s idea is ignored or torn down by a mid level Manager; or worse presented as their own.
Such occurrences can shatter their confidence.
2) Train the ‘trophy kids’, the good old way
Don’t cut back on training. You may not realize it now, but it will be beneficial in the long haul. Millenials also dubbed as the Trophy Kids, despite years well spent at the University, having attended numerous seminars, gone through internships, peer influence, steered by the biggest information source available-the Internet, lack direction. Most of them come with half baked notions about work and limited practical knowledge.
It’s not uncommon to see their understanding of themselves often getting challenged during performance reviews. Having grown up in an environment where competition is only for wining, criticism (of any sort) isn’t taken lightly. They need training to not just know their work, but to understand collaboration and team effort in a real work scenario. At times managers get too busy or too lazy and the training is restricted to a power point presentation or a brief orientation.
We’re in an era where customer service decides the future of brands. New kids on the block needs to learn it. In retail or hospitality industry, where work is often distributed through a workforce scheduling software, since inefficient Employee Scheduling is costly, the actual customer handling only comes from experience.
Only an experienced manager/team leader can show you the way there.
3) Knee jerk reaction–the worst morale killer
Look out for your promising new entrants. Don’t let incompetent team leads or managers make them scapegoats to cover their own goof ups. One deadline missed, one mistake in the report and everyone starts chewing them out, hitting the panic button. While it’s perfectly alright for grave errors that may lead to a lost client or contract, etc., but making a big deal out of manageable stuff must be definitely avoided.
A successful entrepreneur once cited how a typo error in a report landed him in the eye of the storm. How he was reminded of the mission, values and the company mantra right from his colleagues to the senior management.
In the end (being naive), he confessed to taking up the full responsibility of the blunder, was even ready to write an apology to everyone (as he thought his job was on the line). But the next day the issue was casually deferred and was never taken up again. In the hindsight, he realized it was all done to create an environment of fear.
But fear breeds contempt. It won’t do much damage to talented workers, but it would definitely strangle your company’s growth.
4) Can you offer them a higher cause?
The center for Women and Business at the Bentley University came up with a report that around 84 percent of millenials rate making a positive difference through their work higher than plain workplace recognition.
Most young entrepreneurs are all about giving back to the society, Mark Zuckerber did it too.
You need to understand their mindset and offer them something they care for. The millennial generation has grown up in an era of incredible advancements in telecommunications under a booming global (not national) economy unlike their predecessors. They were provided for most things considered necessary for subsistence by Boomers and Gen Xers. Their battle is different. They’ll work for organizations out of choice not out of compulsion.
If you think your employees would take anything you dish out to them–those days are past now. The traits Milllenials bring to the workplace is the change our society is witnessing. It’s for the elders to see how to tap into this new, vibrant, enormous pool of energy.
It’s also important to have realistic expectations from them. Younger workers love their personal space much more than their older counterparts.
Imagine yourself in their shoes, see that you’re being reasonable in your demands. There have been instances where Millenials had expressed they didn’t get enough feedbacks from their managers. These young turks need (even if they don’t ask) both flexibility and mentorship from their managers.
By 2020 , 46% of the working population in the world will be Millenials. The statistic is startling because it’s just six years from now.
It’s time to put aside the complaints and join in to witness the big-bang in talent and innovation!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As VP of Marketing, Bimal Parmar manages the global marketing strategy and execution at Celayix- a leading provider of Employee scheduling software. With over 20 years industry experience, he’s responsible for making sure the world learns about the benefits of Celayix’s solutions.
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