The recently penned open letter by an employee to her CEO at Yelp and the rebuttal has brought focus back to the newest generation in the work place. Millennials. Millennials make up 50% of the workforce today, increasing to 75% in the next 10-15 years. Dubbed Generation ADD, The Selfie Generation, even the Unemployables, make no mistake, whatever you want to call them; they bring new and unique challenges to the employer landscape. No, that’s not a headache you’re feeling but rather you have a case of the Millennials. Like every generation prior, the Millennials are the creation of the generation before them. We gave ourselves this case of the Millennials.
Incredibly tech savvy, the Millennials are accustomed to information being available immediately. They want to know how they are doing as they are doing it. They are well educated with high expectations of themselves; they want to be proud of the workplace they are giving back to. Their demand for work life balance is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Baby Boomers.
While the Millennials have also been dubbed the smartest and most tolerant generation, less than 30% of them have ever done internships or been in professional settings before. Since the new generation is rapidly taking over the workforce leaders will need, and should want, to adapt to keep these valuable givers engaged – things such as more frequent reviews, working in teams and opportunities to take action on their ideas, can keep Millennials engaged as Jay Gilbert points out in his article.
The responsibility falls to you as a leader to engage, find your team’s interest and what drives them. The consulting company McKinsey&Company outlines some key elements for working with Millennials:
- Put communication on steroids – They are hyper connected and are used to getting information. You will want to communicate more than you have in the past.
- Develop a culture of mentorship – They have grown up in a collaborative environment and look to get frequent and immediate feedback. Don’t wait; just give the feedback right on the spot.
- Get creative about professional growth – They want to develop and will be looking for the next challenge, if not from you then from the next company.
- Make flexibility more than polite talk – Because connectivity is part of their hardwiring, they are used to managing their multiple responsibilities throughout the day. They will look to get the work done among their other life responsibilities.
Come to think about it, these aren’t really that different from what most employees want from their managers and leaders to stay engaged. The difference is the Millennials are more outspoken about it. So like sea sickness, home sickness, or some bug, the case of the Millennials will pass and you and your team will have adjusted.
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