In 2015 Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest percentage of workers in the U.S. workforce. Millennials are a generation that expects transparency, are driven by achieving purpose and fulfillment, prefer open communication, a great company culture, involvement with causes, and are more digital than any generation that preceded it. Businesses seeking to engage employees in their work will now have to tailor their approaches to Millennials.
Millennials are optimistic and connected and they thrive on innovation and change. They believe that a single person’s voice can make a difference. Their preference is for organizations to have open, fair, transparent, and inclusive leadership styles. They desire direct access to a number of peers and other leaders, rather than being limited to working with one leader or manager; this represents an opportunity for organizations to evolve in ways that benefit both the organization and the employees.
Millennials value leaders who place a strong emphasis on employee well-being, growth, and development, instead of controlling the work experience of each employee. An organization’s treatment of its employees is of high importance, especially as a leadership quality for the Millennial generation.
To manage Millennials, it is important to show respect, listen to and value their ideas and complaints, including having work structures and processes in place that allow implementation of those ideas. Millennials need attention and to know that their work and efforts are valued. Encourage them, and help them develop confidence by giving them opportunities for success as well as turning ‘failure’ into a positive learning experience.
Face-to-face communication is important to Millennials; be sure that the conversation is a two-way street. Listen to them and learn from them as well. Millennials are looking for leaders who care about people. Conversations should be a give and take and a sharing of information and knowledge. Millennials want leaders who possess strong social skills, have vision, passion, and are decisive.
Millennials do understand productivity expectations, meeting times, project deadlines. It is okay to provide the necessary structure, but do this without micromanaging. While they like to take projects and run with them, they also want regular and frequent feedback that includes praise, constructive critique, as well as an opportunity for learning and growth. Millennials want to be sure their work matters in the larger scheme of things. Millennials want flexibility with job duties and when and where they work. It will be important to provide development opportunities as well as opportunities to work in teams.
Millennials are a generation that wants to make the world better. They want to work for an ethical company that they believe is behaving in ways to make the world better. Whether through charitable giving, paid leave to help out with charitable work, companies need to demonstrate through tangible and real actions a genuine concern for society and not only for the company’s bottom line. Millennials want to work for a company known for doing good.
In summary, Millennials are positive-thinking with an entrepreneurial and hard-working spirit; they want their lives to matter and believe they can change the world. They are a fantastic addition to your team and the largest part of the workforce that you will need to rely on more and more into the future.
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