What’s it really like to work with Millennials?
It’s well known that some like to throw around the term “narcissistic” and subsequently write off the most recent generation to hit the professional workforce. But, as time has been able to tell a little more detail about them, the Millennial generation acts in very similar ways to those that have come before it.
Some of their more unique traits, though, are as follows:
A confidence (and potentially overconfidence) in both their worth as an individual and the role that they play on any team
A willingness to and enjoyment in working as a team
An incredibly structured mindset that has provided the positive of seemingly tireless workers and potential negative of being unable to handle excess time
A positive attitude toward the future that allows them to be far more trusting in their superiors and government than the generation that preceded them
While they may be young and seemingly innocent, this generation holds the future in their hands. Below are some ways to help you understand the best ways to work with Millennials and some things to avoid when trying to keep them happy.
As the manager or team leader of a group containing Millennials, it is important to make sure that they feel their workplace is balanced well with their home and personal life. If they are working long hours, promote events that they may invite someone to join them in or, if a business event, that they can then bring something home from.
If you are working under a Millennial, ask them about their home life and, whatever you may be thinking, be supportive.
Like the baby boomer generation, Generation Y is also money-motivated.
Research shows that they tend to switch jobs more often than other generations due to seeking a higher wage. For this reason, encourage your Millennial coworker to apply for raises or promotions within the company. If you are working under one, be aware that their drive to earn more money may affect how they view your performance, and try to not take critique too personally.
Social is key
If you are working nearby Millennials, you know how true it is that this generation loves to be social. However, there is a hoard of online social media sites that attest to this fact if you’re closest neighbor is the wall. If you are one of the Gen X’ers, you may find their social rambling seemingly void of higher thought and motivation. But beneath some of the more surface talk are individuals who are highly motivated by a positive view of the future. Encourage them to harness their positivity toward making their immediate surrounding a better place and you may just have the next great idea.
Always on the move
As the manager of people belonging to Generation Y, you may notice that they never seem to be still. Having been raised during the technological revolution, these individuals can handle the tech side of a job while planning their next adventure with their buddies. To an extent, this ease of multitasking is incredibly beneficial. As the manager, though, you need to monitor employee engagement and keep them occupied with tasks that focus on them getting one job at a time done successfully. If they feel they are not being challenged, not only will they be bored, but they may just leave altogether.
Praise often and generously
Generation Y is not one to suspect your praise of their work. Take the time to acknowledge their effort and success, as it will keep them loyal to you as a friend, employee, or coworker, and loyal to the company as a whole. If there isn’t praise to be given, then choose to speak candidly and to the point. Communicate with them quickly over messaging or emails. These workers do not “beat around the bush,” and would rather that you don’t either.
Finally, as mentioned, Millennial’s view the future in optimistic terms. For the workplace, this means that no task is unsolvable. Let their natural flare for group work bring about a successful result. If you are on a team with a Millennial, try your best to absorb their energy. For Baby Boomers this may not be as difficult, but for those in Generation X, it may prove to be a challenge. If you’re struggling to channel your inner sunshine, then find the task that needs done and help the team carry on.
Real-time tools like Clarity Wave’s EPIC PRO™ allow Millennials to quickly and easily express their opinions and perceptions of their workplace and coworkers in a safe and anonymous environment. It also fosters a community-building environment that allows people to praise their peers with a variety of badges and stickers.