Managers, mind your millennials.
The so-called “trophy generation” may present some challenges, but these tech-savvy employees have a lot to offer and are fiercely loyal, once you fully engage them.
Millennials are entering the workforce in record numbers, but job-hopping among this group could be problematic because they make up 36% of the workforce, according to The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey.
So learning how to motivate them is key, particularly because millennials will be on your team for years to come.
Since they were raised with constant coaching and feedback, millennial employees thrive when they have a boss who has a more coach-centric management style.
This is someone who can empower them and have an impact on them to succeed.
An Engaged Millennial Is a Loyal Team Member
So millennials are unlike preceding generations. They play by a different set of rules, which is why you need to create the right environment for them to succeed, and, as a result, they will be fiercely loyal.
As long as you can show them a path for growth, engaged millennials are 64% less likely than disengaged millennials to switch jobs, according to a Gallup poll.
“Millennials really do want to accomplish great things and contribute to the organizations they work for,” wrote BetterCloud People & Culture Director Emily Disston in The Muse. Managing millennials is a matter of supporting their goals while leveraging their strengths.
Managing Millennials: 5 Ways to Win Them Over
To win over millennials, there are proven strategies that managers should use to harness their strengths, according to recent polls:
- Show recognition. “Make sure you stop to point out successes as you see them,” writes Collegial Services President Robin Reshwan in US News and World Report. It’s important to “not save the praise to be bundled with the negatives when you discuss what they need to improve.” Saying “thank you” or “job well done” for stellar work goes a long way toward boosting morale, particularly in front of others.
- Emphasize work-life balance. More than any other age group, millennials want a balanced work and personal life. Work-life balance is “very important” to millennials, says a Gallup poll. Millennials work hard, but they are not pulling a 60-hour work week, perpetuated by baby boomers who made sacrifices to get ahead in their careers. “Home, family, spending time with the children and families are priorities ‒ don’t lose sight of this,” writes HR management expert Susan Heathfield in The Balance. They are cramming their lives with multiple activities, so it would also be helpful to explore flexible work schedules or working remotely with them. Or create opportunities for them to participate in personally meaningful company initiatives, such as diversity training or even reverse mentoring, which allows millennials to share their technological knowledge with other generations in the workplace.
- Provide opportunities for growth. “Millennials seek leadership, and even structure,” writes Heathfield. They need to see where their career is going and exactly what they need to do to get there. Close to 90% of millennials rate career growth and professional development opportunities as important to them in a job, says a Gallup poll. So as their manager, make sure you help them formulate a plan on how they can move up in the company and help them visualize their career trajectory.
- Give feedback, early and often. The YouTube generation expects more feedback than any other generation of workers, but only 19% say they receive routine feedback, according to a Gallup poll. “Millennials want to look up to you, learn from you and receive daily feedback from you,” says Heathfield. Because millennials don’t feel comfortable approaching their bosses for feedback or advice, managers need to increase their check-ins on a daily basis, even if it’s a quick call, instant message or a two-minute conversation by their desk.
- Make sure they always know the “why.” Millennials want to understand how they fit in with their jobs, teams and companies. They want a job with a sense of purpose and a manager who shows them how they’re advancing the company’s mission. But they need to be clued in to the “why” of each project. In other words, always explain how a project fits into the bigger picture. “Tell them exactly what you want and when,” says multi-generational communications expert Dr. Mary Donohue. “Encourage them. Then leave them alone.” They’ll have no problem voicing their opinions. And when they do, a manager who listens and responds with a lighter touch will keep them engaged.
Once you understand that millennials view you ‒ their leader ‒ as a coach or a mentor, you’ll be amazed at what they will accomplish.