Millennials are a popular topic these days. Depending on who you ask, they are the key to improving the world in which we live or the reason everything is falling apart. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no arguing that millennials are going to have a big impact on the business world in the coming years. Here’s a bit of a primer on millennials in the workplace and how the way they operate and how their needs might differ from other members of your team.
What are millennials?
Millennials are people who grew up during the early part of the 2000s. The general consensus is that they are entitled and lazy. They supposedly feel like the world is owed to them and they complain when they aren’t instantly gratified. These people can also be referred to as Generation Y.
Of course, this is nothing more than a generalisation, and, as with any group of people, such stereotyping can be shortsighted and hurtful. That being said, due to the times in which millennials started to mature and learn the skills upon which they rely in the workforce, young men and women are used to working under different circumstances. Here are some things you can keep in mind to better understand how these team members tick and how you can get the most out of them.
Three ways to keep the millennials in your team happy and productive
No matter what you think of them, there’s no denying that somebody who came of age in the early 2000s could very well be the perfect fit for your organisation. Avoiding them is ignoring a huge section of the population that could bring something new to your company. Here are three things to keep in mind that can help you get the most out of the millennials in the workplace in which you operate.
1) Use their knowledge
As mentioned above, members of Generation Y in the workplace grew up under different conditions than you, especially in terms of technology. Because of this, there’s a great chance they will be better versed in different ways of reaching mass amounts of people. One simple example of this is social media. There’s a great chance that the 20-something year old in your office will be more adept at handling social media accounts than the older members of your team. Don’t shy away from leaning on this ability. Pick the brains of the millennials in the workplace and try to figure out a way this knowledge can help your company.
2) Listen to them
One of the best qualities of a good leader is his or her ability to listen to those with whom they work. This can be especially true when it comes to millennials in the workplace. Just because they might be younger than you and others in your team doesn’t mean what they have to say is any less important. Sure, they might not have as much time in the workforce as others, but that fresh, less experienced outlook can offer a point of view that differs from others in your employ. That can in turn lead to a new way of doing things that can benefit everybody.
3) Keep them engaged
Sometimes millennials get painted as disinterested and that they think they know more than their more experienced counterparts. While that might be grossly unfair, it also might become the case if these young thinkers are not challenged. One great way you can keep them engaged with their work and with your company as a whole is by continually teaching them new skills. Introduce them to other aspects of the business or enrol them in a course that will expand their horizons. This will keep them invigorated while you and the rest of your company will be able to enjoy the fruits of their upskilling. Another way to keep them engaged is to offer them and others in your team positive feedback and rewards for good work. Flexible scheduling and a relaxed attitude on holidays will endear younger workers to your place, potentially keeping them from looking for the newest, best thing on the open market.
Even though you might think they act a bit differently from older employees who have more experience, ignoring the next generation of workers is something that could set your company back. Don’t totally eschew Generation Y just because of some preconceived notions. Embrace their differences and see how you can instead help include them in the fold.