Managing Your Younger Generation

October 23rd, 2012

Just after Generation X started making mortgage payments, the “millennials” burst en masse onto the job scene with enthusiasm, an affinity for technology and social media, and a new set of priorities and perspectives. Leading this group of individuals (comprised of more than 80 million, according to this infographic) can be challenging for many reasons. The values and priorities of this group of people are vastly different than those of their older co-workers. Because of this, managing them must be approached differently, for the sake of company cohesion and productivity.

Encourage and embrace diversity. According to the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, this generation is the most diverse of any, ever. If your managerial style is more on the exclusive side, this might make millennial employees feel negatively about the work environment you create. Moderate your vocabulary; be sure to include gender neutral language when appropriate, and make sure that references to race, creed or sexuality be used in appropriate, germane ways that are in accord with current political correctness. Use this information to select your staff: remember that a diverse work environment will be vital in making your company appealing to millennial applicants.

Provide timely and abundant feedback. The attention spans of millennials tend to be on the shorter side, which can be attributed to their tendency to communicate electronically (read: instantly). This is a generation that normalized the delivery of even commonplace information on a constant basis; these are people who announce on social networking sites that they are grocery shopping, for example. Provide feedback (both positive and negative) on a constant and immediate basis. This will benefit you by creating a more productive atmosphere.

Give frequent recognition and rewards. This group of people is used to more frequent feedback, as mentioned above, which means that it is also used to more frequent praise and reward, particularly those that are public. An easy way to incorporate this tactic into your managerial style is to begin to give praise or rewards to individuals at regular meetings. The verbal pat on the head provided by an “Attaboy!” at a staff meeting is viable motivation for a younger person, and can greatly increase productivity and ingenuity. According to UNC, a majority of millennials cite “the opportunity for personal development” as the most influential factor in their current jobs, so offer rewards that provide opportunities for personal growth.

If you want to hire people who “get” the millennial generation in order to grow your business and bring aboard a fresh set of perspectives and talents, contact us today! We can help you assemble the perfect team for your company that will help you reach and exceed your goals!