Managers sometimes fault millennials for not fitting into standard notions of the workplace. However, an understanding of their puzzling ways can be used to create a better company and more satisfied employees.
According to Eyal Gutentag, an expert at growing teams and companies, “The things millennials are often knocked for — entitlement, ambition, restlessness — I think are positive.” He suggests building an organizational structure and company culture that encourage change.
As the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media, millennials are bound to be different from those who came before. In addition to their technical savvy, their lives spent online have impacted their very perception of the world.
Fast, Honest Feedback
Millennials are used to instant feedback, and they’re used to judging that feedback on its merits, rather than because it comes from a particular individual. Managers need to provide ongoing, honest feedback. And if a millennial reaches out, managers need to respond quickly, if only to say they can’t answer in-depth right away.
Given their lifelong exposure to social media and cooperative educational models, millennials tend to be more team-oriented than previous generations of workers. Include diverse teams as part of their work. And, as Gutentag suggests, put millennials in charge of small teams early on.
Integration of Work and Real Life
Millennials have a rich life online, and they don’t want to leave it behind at the office door. Managers should help employees responsibly integrate work and private life. They should be able to comfortably have some social media and communication with friends during work hours. Millennials are not going to want to respond to a manager’s after-hours emails unless they feel like their job is a real part of their life, instead of something they have to do to keep a roof over their heads.
Managers reap big benefits from taking the time to understand where millennials are coming from. In fact, most of the so-called faults found with millennials are signs of integrity and a much-needed end to business as usual.