What are best practices for managing millennials?
To help you best manage millennials in your organization, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best advice. From giving them a sense of ownership to taking their feedback seriously, there are several pieces of advice that should serve as your best practices in effectively managing your employees who are millennials.
Here are 14 best practices these leaders follow in managing millennials in their organizations:
- Give Them a Sense of Ownership
- Focus On Efficiency and Fostering Self Reliance
- Keep Mental Health a Priority
- Provide Opportunities for Learning and Growth
- Treat Them Like Humans and Set Clear Expectations
- Give Them Flexibility to Work Remotely and Take Independent Actions
- Don’t Stereotype Them as Millenials
- Give Them the Opportunity to Lead Projects or Initiatives
- Surround Them With Technology
- Focus on Their Career Development
- Encourage Intrinsic Motivation Through Regular Feedback and Open Communication
- Be Honest and Transparent About Your Actions
- Build Them into Teams
- Listen and Take Their Feedback Seriously
Give Them a Sense of Ownership
One best practice when it comes to managing millennials is to give them a sense of ownership. This will allow them to feel like they are contributing and are more likely to be engaged in the project. This generation of employees is very different from the previous ones. They have grown up with technology, which has given them a sense of entitlement and a need for instant gratification. They also want their work-life balance and perhaps above all else, millennials crave for work to be meaningful. According to a recent survey by NYT; millennials are more likely than any other generations before them to partake in organizing team time and thinking about what they could be contributing. This is crucial and a clear sign of their desire for more ownership. Thus giving them as much self-guidance, and flexibility by allowing them to set their own deadlines and work hours (within reason) is simply a must for the management of millennials in the contemporary workplace.
Peter Bryla, ResumeLab
Take Time to Explain Things Where Needed
Millennials are obsessed with efficiency and hate nothing more than a monotonous task that could either be automated or even worse they don’t understand why it is important. My best advice for managing people with this temperament is to firstly do my best to explain why a certain step might be exceedingly important even if it is tedious. Secondly, managing millennials is an outstanding opportunity to learn by listening to ways they might be able to speed up a process. It’s all about striking a balance between providing structure but also allowing millennials to feel like they have some degree of agency over the way they do their work.
Ubaldo Perez, CEO, Hush Anesthetic
Keep Mental Health a Priority
Mental health can go easily ignored by employers. Millennial workers value health beyond what can be seen by the naked eye. As an employer you’ll need to be more willing to understand and embrace the needs to consider the health needs of workers that go beyond the physical. Employers that don’t value these things will find it harder to attract and retain skilled workers as the push for better working conditions and better health continue forward. it’s in your best interest to consider and discuss what sort of health benefits would suit your office best, especially if your composition includes many professionals of the millennial generation and beyond. Creating health benefits that include strong incentives for better mental health set in place now will save you trouble in the future.
Provide Opportunities for Learning and Growth
Providing opportunities for learning and growth is one best practice for managing millennials. Younger millennials, particularly those born in the 1990s, were raised in a culture that valued immediate gratification and stimulus. They thrive on short-term objectives with obvious outcomes and are impatient, adventurous, and hungry for new experiences. They always look for things that make them believe that what they do matters and genuinely change the world so they are constantly looking to find new ways to do things and always eager to learn. Managers must assist them in finding opportunities to learn new skills. They can keep the interest of millennials by regularly allocating fresh and varied initiatives or temporary roles within the company to keep them engaged and motivated.
Treat Them Like Humans and Set Clear Expectations
I’m a millennial and I employ millennials. Sometimes, you bang your head against the wall working with them. At other times, they are awesome. The thing is that they have a lot of options – especially in our job market. I’ve found that treating them like humans, investing in their careers, and setting clear expectations makes it easier to manage them.
Generally speaking, they’re smart or at least know how to get the necessary information even if they don’t already know it. They’re digital natives. Once you set clear expectations for them, get out of their way. They’ll usually figure it out or come to you with any questions they have. Also, don’t be the annoying boss that likes to text at 9 PM. If they close at five, don’t disturb them afterward unless it’s a true emergency. Let people come in, do good work, and live their lives on their terms when they’re off work. If they want to do extra work and go above and beyond, fine. Don’t shame them if they don’t.
Give Them Flexibility to Work Remotely and Take Independent Actions
Give millennials flexibility they really want. Millennials appreciate flexible schedules, remote work, and the ability to take independent actions. Let them. It will not only increase their motivation, but also have a positive impact on how productive they are. Millennials want to be assessed for their results, not for their office hours. They value work-life balance. In fact, setting crystal clear boundaries between personal life and career is one of their priorities. As a millennial myself, I honestly believe that flexibility plays a vital role in managing employees of my generation. With our profit-oriented mindset and the need to do meaningful work, we can do big things. Just let us spread our wings.
Don’t Stereotype Them as Millenials
The best thing you can do when managing employees who fall into the demographic of “millennials” is to not stereotype them as “millennials.” Every generation is different, but every person within a generation is unique. Some characteristics dominate each generation, but don’t assume they apply to any particular employee. Do most millennials want a good work-life balance? Research says they do (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/18/what-gen-z-and-millennials-want-from-employers-amid-great-resignation.html). But don’t assume that is a priority with a particular worker. Ask them, listen, and then adapt your management to their preferences, not what the often negative stereotype says it should be.
Give Them the Opportunity to Lead Projects or Initiatives
One best practice when it comes to managing millennials is to give them a purpose.
As a millennial myself, I know that many of us feel that we’re not being heard. We want to be able to contribute in meaningful ways and feel like our contributions are making an impact. One way to empower your employees is by giving them an opportunity to lead projects or initiatives which they can take ownership over, and then seeing their work come to life. It’s important that you give employees the chance to contribute in this way because millennials are more likely than other generations to leave organizations if they don’t feel like they’re having an impact on the company’s success. By giving millennials regular chances to lead projects or initiatives, you’ll be able to keep your team engaged and motivated for longer periods of time than you would otherwise.
Surround Them With Technology
Surrounding millennials with tech is the best way to manage them. They are always on their phones, tablets, or laptops. That’s why it’s so important to have systems in place that allow them to work from anywhere at any time. For example, my company allows employees to access our servers remotely. This way, they can work from home or on the go without having to come into the office. We’ve also implemented a Bring Your Own Device policy. This allows employees to use their own devices for work, as long as they meet certain security requirements. By surrounding millennials with tech, we’ve been able to create a work environment that is both flexible and secure.
Focus on Their Career Development
Focus on career development with millennials. It’s no secret that their turnover rate within jobs is much higher than the older generations. They’re constantly thinking about their next move and what the best opportunity is. Have frequent conversations about career growth and skills they can improve upon. This not only will help them get to the next level but as a manager, shows that you care about their future as well.
Encourage Intrinsic Motivation Through Regular Feedback and Open Communication
When it comes to millennials, it is all about intrinsic motivation. This is the type of motivation that comes from within and is driven by a personal desire to do something or achieve a certain goal. External factors such as money, awards, or recognition are not as important to this generation. Millennials want to know that what they are doing is important and that their work matters. Leaders need to find ways to tap into this intrinsic motivation in order to get the best out of their millennial employees. One way to do this is through regular feedback and open communication. This will help millennials understand how their work is impacting the company and what they can do to improve.
Neil Platt, Director, Emerald Home Improvements
Be Honest and Transparent About Your Actions
As a millennial who has managed other millennials, I think that one best practice when it comes to managing millennials is to be honest and transparent. Millennials are very aware of the world they’re living in. You can have a lot of success with this age group by explaining your reasoning behind certain decisions, even if those reasons aren’t always favorable or flattering. You might say, “I’m sorry I didn’t give you what you wanted this quarter – but here’s why I couldn’t.” Or, “I know this isn’t what you were hoping for, but here’s what we need to do instead.” Being honest with your team will help them trust you and feel comfortable voicing their concerns without fear of retribution.
Build Them into Teams
Millennials make up a substantial percentage of the workforce in today’s world. This makes it essential to appreciate them and effectively manage them. It helps a lot to group them into teams where they can shine. In a team environment, they’ll be able to specialize and collaborate towards a common goal. When millennials feel unappreciated, they tend to exit and seek positions in places where they feel valued. This is best when they are part of a community – or team. This knowledge is a huge advantage for your organization, since many of them are highly driven, intelligent, and productive people. Create communities where these millennials can express themselves and offer their best, let them work together, and provide them with mentors. You will reap the benefits of a positive environment in your bottom line.
Strong Team Culture
Emphasizing a strong team culture is one best practice when it comes to managing millennials. Millennials, like any other type of employee, benefit from strong team dynamics. Communities build stronger foundations between coworkers. These foundations lead to better collaborations and project outcomes.
Listen and Take Their Feedback Seriously
Start by listening to what they have to say and taking their feedback seriously. If I’ve learned one thing from starting and running a business it’s that everyone sees the world differently and failing to benefit from unique and different perspectives is a massive opportunity lost. Yes, millennials can fall into certain stereotypes of being a certain type of employee but they also have so much to offer in the form of innovation. My best advice for managing millennials is to treat them with respect and try not to diminish their confidence by focusing on their lack of experience instead of the fresh ideas they have the potential to bring.
Ryan Delk, CEO, Primer
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