Every generation has certain characteristics in common with one another that are different from other generations. Technology has worked to broaden these gaps, resulting in a disconnect between many employers and so-called “millenials,” or employees born between 1990 and 1997. By addressing the differences in expectations and making changes to better accommodate this group, employers may see productivity increases and other improvements throughout organizations.
1. Make Information and People Accessible
Millenials have grown up with access to the internet and cell phones, so they are used to being able to find answers and communicate with people instantly. This means that delays or obstacles will be a source of frustration for millenials that may hinder productivity and even make them consider leaving. Flattening organizations and making it easy for employees to communicate directly with one another and managers can increase contentment and engagement.
2. Allow Greater Flexibility
Work/life balance is more important to millenials than older generations. Many millenials have reported a willingness to sacrifice higher pay for the ability to work from home or enjoy more vacation time. Allowing flexibility in how projects are done can also help organizations achieve better results, as millenials may find faster and more creative ways to complete tasks that didn’t occur to employers.
3. Present Training and Promotional Opportunities
Millenials are known for being an ambitious bunch, willing to work hard as long as the rewards are clear. Rewards don’t necessarily have to be huge pay increases, as long as millenials feel some sense of accomplishment and progress. Job title changes, additional perks, and other benefits can all help to motivate millenials.
4. Provide Frequent Feedback
Millenials are used to being able to view school grades and feedback online quickly and on their own terms, so waiting for a boss to provide feedback once a week, month, or year can be discouraging. Instead of waiting for performance appraisal time to roll around, employers can simply give feedback on a daily basis or as projects are completed so that employees know what they did right and wrong. Feedback doesn’t have to be time consuming; one sentence in an email will suffice.
5. Align Social Consciousness with Work Goals
Millenials are more socially conscious than any other generation before them, reporting an overall desire to help people, especially those in need. Aligning your business goals with community support efforts and projects can motivate millenials and make them feel that they are doing something for the greater good. This can increase contentment and engagement among millennial employees.
6. Allow Millenials to Be Social
Discussions and group work are more common in schools now than they were in previous generations and millenials are used to being able to “phone a friend” for advice when they need it. This is a departure from previous norms in which it was “every man for himself” in school and work life.
Discouraging or forbidding employees to use cell phones and communication tools at work is not likely going to work, employees will most likely resort to school yard sneaking tactics. Encouraging employees to use socialization constructively and collaborate with team members will often yield better results.