Millennials - kids born between 1980 and 2000 to the youngest Boomers - are now in the workforce full force. And, in many cases, it's we Boomers who must supervise 'em.
- They're buried in technology; we use it only when necessary
- For us, the long view & planning are assets; they bounce all over the place with what seems to be little direction and no long-term goals
- They want "work/life" balance; we can be workaholic'ish
- For us, performance feedback is formal & planned; for them it's informal and expected often.
M's may love their technology, but they also value personal connectedness (like all that feedback they need). Spend of bit of one-on-one time sharing your ideas and vision, and asking them about theirs...you'll be pleasantly surprised. Listen more than talk; this is where the "we have 2 ears and 1 mouth" adage comes in handy. Then find ways to incorporate their ideas whenever possible.
M's are purpose-oriented, not task-oriented like us. Share with them the reason for the project or task you want them to accomplish, and they will surprise you with the how to achieve it. For them, job security/satisfaction is derived from their competencies and their passions, not simple task completion. If they lack a connection with the purpose, you will get far less out of them.
3. Don't wait until "performance review" time for feedback
As mentioned earlier, M's thrive on regular feedback and expect routine encouragement. The absence of feedback could be interpreted to mean that you do not value them, and their performance will show it. And, you must admit, there's much to be said for letting any employee know how they're doing on a regular basis vs. once a year...
Engage them with stimulating activities (although this one works for every age group), disrupt the routines, and surprise them with new challenges and special time-bound projects. This is something with which we may have been uncomfortable at their age, so use the Platinum rule, treat them as they want to be treated.
5. Don't confuse regular feedback with micro-management
Millennials like a challenge and the chance to create innovative solutions. They like to learn through immersion, engagement, trial and error, and entrepreneurial activities, not being told every detail of task accomplishment and how to do it. Give them space to learn, discover and experiment. Give them the task or project then let them come up with the method.
M's are looking for a context that allows them to align their values with the values of the organization. They wish to be connected to a purpose that matters to them and the community. So, from the job interview to their everyday work, articulate the organization's vision and share it with them. It is the impact of what the organization does that gives them a sense that they might belong.
7. Rather than tamping down their use of technology, channel it
Millennials function in networked environments where communications via technology are more efficient than long meetings. As mentioned above, they see technology as essential for both expression and learning, so don't fight it...incorporate it. Use it for professional development; find ways to use their technological savvy to benefit company goals; feed this form of collaboration by using it more often rather than expecting them to do everything your way. Nurture this and they will be right there when you do want them to attend a traditional meeting.
Just as with any employee, a great leader taps into the unique strengths that each staff member brings. This young generation offers a competitive edge that you can promote and enjoy by tapping into these strengths for better results - from them and for the business.
You have been officially alerted...