Millennial Managers: Is Your Workforce Ready?

Millennial Managers: Is Your Workforce Ready?

You’re probably thinking, “Here we go again with another millennial article,” but we are not here to discuss the negative and frequently criticized reputation of this demographic. The time has finally come for millennials to denounce their stereotype as they begin to shake up the status quo in the workplace and embrace their place as the next corporate leaders.

As first millennials have begun taking leadership positions, the amount of millennial managers will continue to increase at a rapid pace. As they edge out Generation X for these coveted promotions, it is expected that by 2024 millennials will hold two-thirds of workplace leadership roles, but are they prepared? Ask any millennial and they’ll give you a hard “yes,” but there are a few initiatives organizations should implement to ensure a smooth transition and set these new managers up for success.

Professional Development
In the year 2016 alone, US corporations spent just over $70 billion on workforce trainings. The issue may not be organizations failing to provide professional development, but instead with how it is provided. As we know, millennials are keen on open spaces and flexibility, so a rigid PowerPoint corporate training in a classroom may not suffice.

Millennials want the freedom to choose, and with today’s modern workforce, it is not unusual to offer that. Many organizations are beginning to allow employees to choose their opportunity, whether it be an online certificate, registering for a class at a local college, or attending networking events. Allowing employees to personalize and manage their own employee development can increase their engagement and motivation while benefiting the organization as a whole. Professional development is key in preparing millennials managers to become the leaders our organization’s need.

Regular Performance Reviews
In a recent report from Gallup, “Regular meetings more than double the likelihood of engagement,” yet many organizations still rely on annual appraisals. Millennials prefer relevant and timely feedback, which requires more consistent and personalized interactions with management, but there is no need to go into “meeting overload.” Scheduling a 30-minute meeting is not necessary. Simply stopping in for a 10-minute conversation works, or grabbing a coffee together, will work just as well.

And yes, providing more frequent feedback is a topic discussed in countless millennial articles. However, the key here is not to only provide regular feedback but to teach millennial managers how to provide it in return. This type of communicative skill can be taught by encouraging employees to speak up during team meetings, promoting constructive criticism to co-workers, and other activities that allow millennials voice their opinions. Practice makes perfect, so when the time comes for millennial to take on a higher role, they should be capable and comfortable with providing reliable feedback and check-ins.

Overcoming Office Obstacles
Not many were hopeful when Millennials entered the workforce. We’ve all seen the lists of the negative stereotypes that characterize millennials as being lazy, self-entitled, and disloyal. This type of impression can impact millennial managers by making it difficult to gain respect, as many believe they lack the real world skills and business experience needed to make strategic decisions. A lack of respect for this demographic can cause older employees to become discouraged about reporting to someone younger than them.

If millennials managers expect to receive the respect they need to be an effective leader, it is essential for current leaders to assist in shaking these stereotypes before. It is important to stress that promotions are not based solely on seniority and experience anymore. Millennials are known to be tech savvy, accepting of change and new ideas, and goal-driven, all of which are beneficial in a leadership role and achieving organizational success. Corporate leaders not only need to address the millennial reputation in the workplace but also teach millennials how to interact and work well with the older generation, as the perspectives and values from multi-generational workforce can cultivate success.

Whether your workforce is ready or not, millennials will be the next group of corporate leaders. Maintaining a smooth transition between the generational leaders is more important now than ever before. Remembering to foster employee training through professional development, encouraging peer-to-peer and employee-to-manager feedback, and managing office perception can enable organizations to sustain success with millennials leading the way.

This DATIS Blog was written by Anthony Davis, DATIS, on August 17th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by Anthony Davis