In the modern workplace, there are a multitude of stigmas that stereotype millennials; self-absorbed, lazy, job hoppers, and the list goes on. However, these are exactly just that, stigmas. These assumptions are based on the fact that the new generation prefers to work in a different type of organizational culture than previous generations.
Based on the aforementioned assumptions, millennials are often looked down upon and are not entrusted with full responsibility. However, this new generation will inevitably become our future managers and C-Suite executives. Now is the time to be investing in these employees and preparing them for the future. Pushing millennials to their potential today can help them develop critical skills needed for the future.
Here are a few key strategies management can employ to engage millennials in the workforce:
Almost every employee in the workforce has experienced some form of micromanagement. The constant peering over employees’ shoulders as they work and managing their every move does not suit the millennial generation. Millennials thrive off of trial and error and prefer flexibility in the workforce. Enabling millennial employees to work in a manner that suits them best and allows for creative freedom on tasks can go a long way. To begin, start with small assignments as a way to monitor their competence and progress to larger initiatives when they are ready.
As Millennials craving for trust increases, so does their need for feedback and evaluation. It is often assumed that millennials are stubborn and dislike receiving other’s opinions, but this does not appear to be true. In fact, millennials want to be held accountable and be evaluated on their progress. They want to know when they’re doing something wrong and or how they can improve for the future. Millennials aspire for greater autonomy but want to be sure they are driving in the right direction. Congratulate millennials when they’re performing well but don’t hesitate to acknowledge their faults. Millennials value the recognition, both good or bad.
Innovation and Growth
Millennials are strongly committed to their career growth and are not afraid to change jobs or move states for a new opportunity. They tend to seek out organizations with a sense of innovation and growth potential. According to a recent Deloitte study, 78% of millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is and how fast they can progress. If they feel stifled or stagnant within a position, they are more likely to move on. While organization’s can’t be expected to throw out managerial positions just to deter turnover, even something as simple as offering on-the-job training or management training classes can demonstrate an organization’s commitment to employee growth and development.
With more millennials joining the workforce every year, office cultures have begun to shift. Closed off cubicles and strict hierarchal-based environments are becoming more relaxed and laid back to fit new employee preferences. It was recently uncovered that roughly 79% of millennials found “team” or “culture” building activities significantly helpful for retaining talent. Millennials prefer collaborative work in a social atmosphere as many view their job as an extension of their social life and who they are. Management should consider opportunities to strengthen relationships between employees by implementing more open floor plans and, breaking down physical and figurative barriers.
The saying goes, “People leave managers, not jobs.” This is why it is so pertinent that management has a strong understanding of their employees and their preferences. As the modern workforce progresses, the mentality of “this is the way we have always done it” will no longer be an acceptable answer. Management must ultimately keep an open mind and communicate with employees to engage millennials in the workplace.