Managers need to know their employees in a more personal way if they hope to manage them effectively. Developing relationships with employees is key, but it’s also helpful to consider which demographic they fall into when it comes to understanding them. Millennials are a demographic that get a lot of buzz, both positive and negative. Making up a large portion of the population, this age group is beginning to dominate workplace culture. Managers can benefit from getting to know millennial strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies in order to manage them successfully. Keep reading for some of the most important “do’s” and “dont’s” when it comes to managing millennials.
Give positive reinforcement
People crave recognition in their work life. It makes them feel appreciated and more invested. This is especially true for many millennials who grew up in a culture that celebrated their achievements. By recognizing their success and achievements with positive feedback, you’ll motivate your millennial employees to continue working towards new goals. Offering incentives for success is also effective in promoting productivity.
Encourage innovative thinking
Millennials may get bored without new tasks and challenges in the workplace. As a manager, you should make sure you’re giving your millennial employees enough work and trusting them with the right challenges when appropriate. Rather than over-managing them, allow space for them to find new solutions to problems. Millennials excel in this area and may surprise you with what they produce. By showing that you trust them and by giving them the freedom to bring new ideas to the table, your millennial employees can be a real asset.
Millennials are, of course, the most tech-savvy generation today. Growing up with the dawn of the digital age, smartphones and iPads have become a natural part of their everyday lives. For managers who are from the Boomer generation, millennials are the answer to keeping up to date in your business. Allow their knack for technology to shine by using their skills to better your workplace. Why succumb to the old ways of communicating with clients when millennials can help introduce you to some of the newest ways to reach them quickly? This is especially true if you’re marketing to a millennial client base as well.
Deny flexible work schedules
Millennials today are seeking flexible working hours to create a better work-life balance for themselves. They know that this will contribute to their overall happiness and productivity both in and out of the workplace. Managers need to understand that giving space and flexibility will often help millennials excel and be more passionate in their work. Offering options like telecommuting (whether partial or full) and more available vacation days will accommodate their needs and again promote their success overall.
This goes for most employees, but especially this generation. It’s important for managers to actively listen. Hear out your millennial employees when they have new ideas and solutions. Create an open forum for them to express their concerns or conflicts in the workplace. This will prevent misunderstandings down the line and will help your millennial employees be more engaged in the work you’ve given them. Emphasize your openness to millennials, and you’ll be rewarded with their innovative ideas and creative solutions.
No employee wants to be micromanaged. It’s one thing to be involved in your employees’ work lives to avoid potential confusion. It’s another to watch over every move your employees make and criticize along the way. Millennials don’t respond well to this type of management and will often become discouraged and indifferent over time. Make space for them to work and learn on their own with the right balance of management on your part. You’ll encourage their success and show that you trust their ability to work independently. You’ll also be able to delegate more effectively and focus on the things that most need your attention instead of the tasks that can be handled by your employees without your assistance.
Examining the millennial demographic will help you better understand your employees from this generation. This is not to replace getting to know each individual employee, but instead to offer a useful framework as you get to know them. If you follow these general tips, you’ll likely need to do less adjusting of your management strategy as you determine what each specific employees need from you.