The term millennial has so far proven to be more complex than meets the eye. Some wear the label like a badge of courage, others hide it amongst the skeletons in their closet. Some see it as “young and looking for experience,” while others would probably put it on the same level as “convicted murderer.”
The popular belief is that millennials are bad news. These are the pesky 18-24-year-olds without much experience who think they run the place. Putting lumbar supports on their chairs, “discovering” instead of hard researching and having the gall to leave work on time. Not only is this attitude toxic, it reveals the massive shift in attitude the new majority has towards work.
Companies need to “get hip” to what these newcomers want or risk watching their company shrink. But to really “get” millennials, you only need to understand a few simple things.
Get Out of the Stone Age
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with serious technology within arms reach. Yeah, you thought the computer was cool when you sat down with a desk-sized one in college, but these newcomers were required to use them daily from grade school through college. They’ve never seen a portable phone, they’re used to lightning fast smartphones that can do everything short of cooking your dinner (but don’t be shocked if a new app changes that).
With decades of smart and innovative technology at their disposable, expecting them to sit down with outdated, clunky software and equipment is a recipe for disaster. They’re ready to produce amazing work, don’t let your frustratingly slow Windows XP stand in the way. Likewise, recruiting them is going to take a step into the modern age. Expect heavy use of email or job sites like ours, www.monikl.com (hint hint).
Get On Their Level
Millennials have recently completed around 16 years of grueling schoolwork, only making it through with the help of their friends. With so much time to see the value in a close-knit team, they’ll expect the same in the workplace. This new workforce is tearing down the workplace dictatorial “boss knows all” mentality. Work alongside them. Coach them, don’t manage them. Find common interests, build a regular relationship and head to the bar with them after a particularly hard day.
A down to Earth management style boosts morale and gets people excited to come to work. When it’s done just right, this actually improves productivity and results.
School didn’t just introduce them to the value of a team, it also gave them a thorough understanding of busy work. Tasks which don’t hold much value and only serve to keep them around for the required time. How did they combat this? Slacking on the job for most of the day and kicking into gear for the last couple hours. It’s unproductive and wastes everybody’s time, often leaving lackluster results in its wake.
Millennials will put in the hours when a task requires it. Otherwise? Think of the 40-hour week as a suggestion. If an employee completes everything for the day and has been knocking it out of the park, why make them sit and stare for another two hours? Keeping the door open for a three o’clock exit is a great incentive to be active and focused, performing the best they can to earn that privilege.