Many of you know I speak around the country on the subjects of Generations in the Workplace, Change and Rebranding, and Generational Opportunities. A few weeks ago I returned home from an event where the team who booked me was under the impression that my 45-minute presentation would give them the quick and easy steps in “How to Manage Your Millennial.” The director said that these young kids are a huge interruption in his day… and that got me thinking!
Are they an interruption or a wake-up call to the future?
Interruption or a Wake-up Call?
There is no silver bullet when it comes to managing Millennials. AKA Generation Y. It’s a bit more complicated than that. The key to successfully managing this generation begins with understanding them. They view the world, lifestyles, and work very differently than the generations preceding them. The unpopular news to previous generations is that you have to meet Millennials (Gen Y) where they are—and, yes, it will take more energy, but if you invest the extra time, you are more likely to keep them and their talents in your organization. Forcing them to conform to your way will only push them out, and they will be quick to leave.
Here Are Some GenY Expectations that are changing the world of work:
- Work with positive people, to be treated with respect , and to be asked for their input—it’s called inclusion.
- Work on challenging projects with an engaged team that cares about outcomes.
- Gain knowledge from a variety of tasks, so they can grow their career faster.
- See the route to their future and their career path in your organization.
- Ability to leverage technology work—any time/any place.
- Evaluation on work product—not how, when or where the work is done.
- Need transparency about compensation and what it takes to get ahead.
Hey…I want these things too~
Millennials are known for their love of technology, texting, and connecting online. But did you know that they also value clear communication and authentic relationships, along with a need to have an understanding of expectations? Millennials wants to interact directly and often with their managers and coworkers.
In addition, they want to work in a friendly place where they feel a sense of acceptance and enjoyment in the workplace environment. They want to identify with the company core values and work with people who share their priorities. They are very willing to leave if the company purpose does not align with their own values. Anything less would mean they are not being individually authentic, and therefore cannot relate to managers and fellow team members in an authentic way.
Isn’t That Special!
Millennials were told by their parents that they were special, and they believed it! It is important for this generation to stand out and celebrate their uniqueness. They are proud of their individuality and look for ways to express themselves, which previous generations see expressed as tattoos, piercings, hair color, and dress. An astute manager will help Millennials balance their need to be unique and, yet, still be in sync with the organization’s needs and brand. This may take some creative thinking.
Show Me My Career Path.
Let’s be realistic. Not all Millennials look at their first job as their final career. Many younger employees consider their work “something to do between weekends,” and are not thinking about climbing the corporate ladder.
But, the more focused Millennials (high potentials) have a self-centered work ethic and are in search of a career path. If you are working with the “High Potentials,” show them where they fit into your organization. Take the time to show them a career path and open their eyes to the opportunities available in your organization in all departments.
“This Millennial generation is not just looking for a job, they’re not just looking for salary and financial benefits, they’re looking for skill development, they’re looking for mobility, they’re looking for opportunities to acquire different skills and to move quickly from one part of an organization to another. How you manage that sort of talent and how you deal with their expectations is very different from what’s been done in the past.”
—Dennis Nally, PricewaterhouseCoopers HR Director
Managers Need a Big Dose of Self-Awareness.
I am listening to my audiences and what I am hearing is that managers are frustrated. They don’t want to spend time training the new hires and feel that they are a huge interruption in their day. They just expect them to know. In fact, one person said if they have to train someone, they aren’t worth hiring.
The biggest challenge for organizations is to ask themselves are they open and willing to make a shift. If so, they must bend to accommodate the millennial mindset or lose their talents, which are considerable.
That said, the need for young talent is enormous. Competition is fierce to recruit and retain the best talent. Organizations unable or unwilling to make the shift will pay dearly for their inflexibility.
Millennials ( I am now calling them Generation Interruption) have the ability to transform disruption of the workplace into profit for your company. But first, your managers must be willing to adapt and change to fit their needs. Are you up for the challenge?
Then you need to decide if your company culture can adapt and move ahead. Can your organization get out of the default mode and try new things to meet the needs of this new talented generation of Millennials who are going to carry us into the future?
Karen McCullough is a nationally known keynote speaker and expert on change, generational opportunities and workforce trends.
Karen helps organizations cut through the generational biases and get back to reality by leveraging their team’s strengths, enriching the work environment, and driving better results. Each of her presentations brings a realistic perspective on workplace trends, employee engagement, while offering actionable content.
For the past 15 years Karen has shared her insights to top organizations such as VMware, Procter & Gamble, US Department of Justice, JPMorgan Chase, Symantec, McGraw-Hill, National Homebuilders, Shell Oil, Mercedes Benz, The World Bank, American National Insurance, Humana, United Way, American Heart Association and MD Anderson Cancer Center.