You’ve Just Hired A Millennial Part 1…
May 28, 2013 5 Comments
You just hired a Generation Y employee (a Millennial), one of the great multitaskers of all time.
You now have access to a valuable asset – or not… and it’s largely up to you the experience you will both have.
- Get the most out of your relationship with your Millennial employees
- Help Millennials get the most out of their relationship with you
- Create harmonious relationships between this group and your Boomer / Generation X employees
Millennial Characteristics: An Overview
Many Millennials have been leaders already. Part of their organized upbringing, sports team participation and charity / volunteer work has given Millennials the opportunity to be in charge and / or coach someone. In fact, Millennials’ leadership experience might be why you hired them.
Millennials are creative, very good with technology and like to be part of the team. If you have a problem, put a few Millennials in a room and ask them for a few creative ideas.
Their Boomer and Generation X parents raised them so that they felt they were important and gave them access to important people and big ideas. Keeping Millennials out of the loop is going to frustrate them and demotivate them. They want to be connected.
Millennials want to know what’s expected of them. Tell them what out-of-the-park performance looks like. They can choose to exceed expectations or not – but at least they know what exceed expectations looks like. If you don’t set their objectives most Millennials will likely think they did an A+ job every time and want the recognition and pat on the back for it… every time.
They want to look up to their managers and mentors as someone they can learn from and respect – not follow.
Don’t be surprised that Millennials have their own work style just like Boomers and Generation Xers. One big difference is that their work ethic is more social, less formal and less about being in the office all the time. They will want / need time during office hours to stay connected with friends / family – and likely via social media and their smartphone. They will see this as a natural part of their day vs. a waste of time.
Work is a social experience for a Generation Y employee (Millennial). They grew up working on teams to get school projects done, or sports or dance classes, so if you manage them like a more conservative Boomer or Generation Xer they’ll not perform at their best.
Guide Millennials in the workplace but let them find their way:
- They like it when other people think they are smart
- They like to be liked
- They’re good at working hard – really hard – as long as they think the work is interesting and making a difference
- As long as they are interested they will give 110%, but the second they are bored they’ll lose motivation
- Millennials focus more on the results rather than time in office
Manage Millennials Approach 1.
Let Millennials in the workplace come to you with questions, don’t hover over them. If you want to check their status (which they’ll be OK with if you do it as a mentor / coach / advocate), perhaps do it in a scheduled daily or bi-weekly update meeting. This will make them feel important and they’ll love getting your direct and undivided attention. These meetings don’t need to be lengthy – for example they can take the form of targeted / on-point, but friendly 10-minute meetings. Also let Millennials (and your whole staff), know they can come to you at other times with questions.
As a Time Management best practice, my recommendation is to set a time each day when your door is open for people to drop in (2PM to 3PM often works well). You don’t want drop-in’s all day long as this lowers your productivity, creativity and strategic value. Also avoid doing this in the morning when almost everyone’s creativity is highest.
If you set up regular update meetings with your Millennial be sure you keep the schedule – and make sure your Millennial does also. Don’t allow them to be 5 minutes late because they needed a Starbucks run. They’ll respect your importance even more if you remain friendly but stern. If they start being lax, it might be a sign that they are losing interest in the task, the job or the company.
Formality of these meetings is a demonstration of importance… and helps them learn about respect and corporate life.
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