So-called ‘Millennials’, (those born between 1980 and 2000), get a lot of bad press. A recent Daily Mail article devoted just under 1000 words to describing Millennials as “spoilt, full of themselves, averse to hard work and expect success on a plate”. It’s not for us to comment on the Daily Mail’s appetite for sensationalism but the article did raise a few questions as to how to get the best out of this much-maligned generation.
They key is understanding their values, skillset, ambition and aspirations.
The millennial mantra: work, live, excel, repeat
There are over 75 million so-called millennials in or preparing to join, the workforce right now. To generalise that they all conform to the negative stereotypes the press circulate is just wrong. Within this massive group, there will be a diverse range of backgrounds, skills, attitudes, expectations and work ethics. Would you describe everyone in your generation as the same?
That said, there are key characteristics to the Millennial generation, that provide some clues as to how to get the best out of them:
• A busy social life, a desire to make friends at work and enjoyment of working as a team.
• A need for continual feedback, stemming from the feedback culture of modern schools.
• An urge for a healthy work-life balance
• An unprecedented use of technology in work and social life and ability to multi-task to get jobs done
• A desire to understand where their career is going and how they are being supported to achieve their objectives.
In simplistic forms, there is a culture in this generation to have a good work-life balance, but in a job, that provides both professional and social satisfaction and a structured plan for them to achieve their aspirations. Surely these goals are what most of us strive for? With that in mind, here are three tips to help you get the most out of your millennials
1. Recognise achievement and coach to improve performance
Recognition and feedback are vitally important for all workers, helping them to understand how they are doing, what they are excelling at and how to improve. Recognising achievement is an easy way to inspire and motivate your workforce, but something that’s easily forgotten, when the stresses and priorities of the working day take over. So, schedule time to recognise the achievements of your team.
Consider investing in social recognition software. Tools like Benefit One or Performly help you quickly and easily recognise success, publicly, giving your workers recognition in front of the whole company. This helps to create a culture of high achievement by encouraging peer to peer recognition. Some CRM systems like Salesforce or Dynamics have social networking or recognition tools built in, so be sure to find out before reaching to yet another piece of costly software.
2. Millennials are eager to impress so provide structure and leadership
Set clear goals, assign due dates for objectives and be sure to define the criteria for success. Then, set regular informal and formal reviews to measure progress, give feedback and recognise achievements. During these catch ups, provide leadership and guidance. Investing your time in coaching and developing your teams will lead to you being rewarded with high-quality work and an eagerness to impress.
3. Keep work varied to avoid boredom
Millennials are massive multitaskers. Having been brought up with the internet and technology, they will be adept at doing multiple tasks at once and in fact, they need this constant stimulation to be motivated. Boredom is the route to lost motivation so give your Millennials a variety of tasks and goals to pursue to make work varied and keep them on their toes.
Millennials tend to be comfortable working in teams so take advantage of this to spice up their day to day tasks with activities such as running work social events, taking charge of charity events or leading projects.
Managing millennials is more about embracing the changing nature of the workforce and the workplace, than pandering to the whims of a younger generation. Millennials are the future of business, no matter how you look at it, so it’s important to understand how to get the best out of them, rather than fight against their culture and values, to achieve your businesses objectives. For more advice about engagement, motivation, recognition strategy or any of the topics discussed in this article, get in touch by calling us on 0330 555 1139 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.