The Millennial generation recently became the largest generation in today’s workforce. It is time that we understood the talent we employ, to help retain them and develop deeper, more fruitful relationships in and outside of our organizations. It makes sense for the rest of us to stop, collaborate, and listen to what they need to help them thrive. Treating them this way could result in much success for everyone.
This group seems to be the most misunderstood by far. I often ask myself, “hasn’t history shown us that it was a challenge when ‘Boomers’ snuck in and, oh my, those Gen Xers!“ This time IS different. This next generation has grown up with many more resources at their fingertips, more than most other generations would know in a lifetime. They have been using technology since they were around age three and they have the best cheerleaders that anyone could ask for – their parents!
Now that we have had a few years to start experiencing work with this smart and savvy group, things are beginning to shake out. Experts are reporting that Millennials are not what we assumed them to be in many cases. Yes, they are different. Yes, they challenge leaders and mentors. However, they want to work differently, use unknown tools and resources, and get to the end result more quickly and efficiently. I ask you, how can this hurt your business?
Here are the three leadership practices they desire:
1. Command and Control - Coaching
- Give Feedback. Find ways to give feedback efficiently.
- Provide common sense training. “Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire. Provide what you may think is basic training.
- Millennials – train yourself too. It’s not just other generation’s challenge. Millennials do your homework; learn the basics on your own.
2. Uniformity - Customization
- Offer options. Create one message and communicate through various channels.
- Communicate how they want. Ask them how they learn best.
- Co-create. Include millennial employees in planning and strategizing.
3. Need to Know Basis - Access and Transparency
- Exposure is the new swag. Develop relationships with candidates pre-hire to expose them to your company culture.
- Make the invisible, visible. Measure everything and share the data.
- For all generations: engage a reverse mentor. Great ideas will be shared.
People make our environments more interesting and challenging at the same time. Millennials are redefining leadership. A few actions to take to keep up with the ever-changing employment climate today are: read, follow millennial experts on blogs, twitter and other social media sites and listen to those around you. Learn what is valuable to those in your workforce and use it productively!
Contributed by Kym Hess, HR Business Partner, HR Collaborative.
View the on-demand webinar “Generations: Who Are You Working With?” with Kym Hess.