5 Sneaky Secrets for Unlocking the Hidden Magic of Millennials
Posted by Sarah Becker • May 24, 2017
As I’ve mentioned before in my blog posts, my age qualifies me as a member of the millennial generation. Good or bad, millennials are the generation of the future for most businesses as they reach farther into the 21st century. In fact, Pew Research Center reports that millennials have outnumbered the Baby Boomer generation…leaving them as the primary employee pool for the coming years.
But, many business owners and leaders contend that their employees from the millennial generation are far from ready to take the helm at their organizations. Laziness, entitlement and the constant need to “do it a new way” are complaints voiced by many management reps in leading firms.
However, I believe that the millennial generation is not as bad as they are cracked up to be. There is, definitely, a miscommunication and lack of understanding between the new generation and many who represent the “golden era” or, even, leaders from Generation X. This gap, though, can be bridged by utilizing the five sneaky secrets I’ve discovered for unlocking millennials’ hidden magic and potential.
Crack the Code
Reduce the Nonsense!
Lack of challenge, micro-managing, and monotony are like a noose around a millennial’s neck. A millennial employee thrives on variety of tasks and a work day that is not identical to the day before. Being involved in projects that consistently require brainstorming, problem solving and critical thinking is what a millennial is seeking. Members of this generation want to be engaged at work. They don’t want to be a paper pusher or be chained to a desk doing the same thing day in and day out.
While they understand that many mundane tasks are simply a part of their jobs, they don’t want to be exclusively responsible for such chores. Develop systems to reduce the time it takes to complete these monotonous jobs so that millennials can be part of teams completing what seem to be more meaningful duties.
Today, more households have two working parents compared to previous generations. Sick children, days off from school, doctor’s appointments, activities and other dilemmas deliver the need to have one parent accessible at all times. Most companies offer 40 hours of sick time and 80 hours of personal leave time (at the MAX!). Millennials with children may find themselves running out of leave time to deal with life.
Instead of being tied to an 8-5 schedule, millennials are insisting that there should be other options. Offering work-from-home opportunities, flex time and varying schedules are definitely perks that millennials will appreciate.
Quantity of hours ≠ Quality of work
Millennials don’t want to be clock watchers. They don’t want to punch a time clock. They want to do their work and go home. They don’t want to be chained to a desk for a required eight hours per day, if they can perform their duties in less time. Millennials want to be employed in careers that reward them for their quality of work, not how long they stay in their offices. Mandatory presence for a clocked shift is in direct conflict with their need to be valued for their performance, not attendance. The best way to address these concerns is developing duties that will require employees to dedicate a considerable portion of their work day to. However, employers should be prepared to offer more flexible work schedules that adapt to an employee’s needs. The knowledge that an employer is willing to offer flexible hours, based on occasional needs, goes a long way with millennials.
Prove Opportunity for Ownership and Contribution
Just being a number doesn’t appeal to the millennial employee. He wants to contribute to the overall success of a company. He hopes to be an essential member of a team, offering impactful input to projects and helping to deliver on goals and objectives. Basically, he wants to feel ownership in the foundation of the company he works for and desires to feel like he actively contributes to its progress.
Putting a millennial in the mail room or other back office areas where he feels like he is not involved will drive him away. And, while the new millennial employee may not be ready to lead the board room, he can surely be trusted to sit in on meetings or become involved in projects the company is working on. Engaging through mentorships or introducing the millennial to development teams gradually will provide the promise that more lies ahead.
Additionally, ask the millennial employee what skills he has beyond what’s on his resume. You may find some hidden talents that can be put to good use in other ways within the department he works in. Providing opportunities to feel useful will encourage millennial employees to offer up their talents in creative ways.
Deliver Mutual Respect and Loyalty
Resect and loyalty are two-way streets with millennials. In past eras, the “old guard” suggested that new employees had to earn respect and that the company automatically deserved loyalty.
But, times have changed. Work environments should offer an immediate respect for a millennial’s talents and knowledge. They’ve worked hard to earn their educations, sometimes beyond the initial four-year degree, and have amassed skills associated with their chosen professions. Many of them have interned and worked “real” jobs within their industries. They days of being completely “wet behind the ears” are gone.
Employers who fail to acknowledge millennials’ abilities will never earn the trust, respect and loyalty of their employees. Demonstrate appreciation for them, ask for their input and attempt to make decisions that will benefit them. Deliver transparency and provide them with an environment of acceptance. Millennials, when they feel like they’ve found a good employer, demonstrate respect and loyalty that rivals any old-fashioned perceptions of what “used to be.”
Now, that I’ve delivered to you the “sneaky secrets” to understanding your millennial employees, I hope that making attempts to bridge the gap between generations makes sense and will be easier. Just like any other employees, they want to work hard and establish careers. Understanding where they are coming from will ensure success for your business now and in the future.
Do you still have questions about how your present systems and process may align better with your millennial employees? I can help! My specialty is streamlining your day-to-day tasks and other performance issues to help you move on to more efficient methods of getting “stuff” done!