5 Ways to Better Manage Millennial Employees

Jul 20, 2012
5 Min Read

Business leaders are still struggling to manage millennials in the workplace. More and more millennials are added to the workforce each day despite the bad economy. By 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be millennials, says the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. Millennials (also known as Generation-Y) are those born between 1982 and 1993. There are 80 million of them in America alone, which is about four million greater than the baby boomer generation. Millennials have different workplace expectations, grew up differently, and want to redefine “work” as we know it. They want to break the rules, corporate hierarchies and creating a lasting impact, starting from day one on the job. Managing this generation can be troublesome if you don’t understand their needs and how they operate. Here are five important things you need to know about them:

1. Give them constant feedback. Millennials want constant feedback from their managers instead of waiting for annual performance reviews. Hold regular meetings with them and allow them to ask you their most pressing questions. If millennials feel like there’s a give and take relationship between them and their manager, they are willing to work harder. It also makes them more loyal and committed to you, the team and the company. They grew up with parents who scheduled their lives and were highly involved. As a manager, it helps to involve them in projects that you’re working on as much as possible.

2. Establish a reverse mentoring relationship. Managers understand what it takes to get ahead at work. They understand the skills millennials need in order to succeed. Millennials, on the other hand, are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to new technology. They were born using computers, use smart phones constantly, and are always logged onto social networks. Managers can learn a thing or two from them. Millennials and their managers should come together to learn from each other because it will improve productivity and relationships.

3. Provide work/life balance. Managers need to understand that millennials want to be with their friends and families and want them to be a big part of their lives. In addition, millennials end up doing work in the after hours, including answering emails and phone calls. Managers should allow millennials to spend some of their work time doing personal things like using Facebook. If you’re going to force millennials to work longer hours, you need to support them in balancing other things that are important to them.

4. Make work challenging for them. If millennials get bored with their work, they end up leaving, which will cost your company money. If you find that they are mastering certain tasks, come up with new challenges for them so they feel that they are progressing and learning something new. Millennials can multi-taskers so don’t feel that you are overloading them with work. Allow them to work on projects cross-functionally so they can expand their networks and learn new areas of the business. It will make them feel more valuable and stay with you longer.

5. Put them in teams. Millennials have a team-oriented focus and enjoy collaboration. By putting them on a team where they can best utilize their strengths, they will be able to perform better. Also, if they are able to make friends at work, they are more likely to stay with your company and be happy doing so. They were on sports teams growing up where the teams were rewarded and want the same feeling in the workplace.