I am not one of them, and sometimes I don’t understand them. But millennials have some wonderful positive traits that I respect and yes, admire. And that makes them great to work with, fun to manage and successful. Plus, they are the current and future of the workforce.
This list is not exclusive to describing millennials, but it does represent some ways in which they can be different from other generations in the workforce. What millennial bring to the table are some creative, innovative and team focused approaches that can make an organization have an edge in the current marketplace. These six characteristics are what you need to know about managing and working with this younger generation.
1) Millennials are terrific networkers and are connected: So not only can you assign tasks that play to these strengths, you can also make sure that they have opportunities to be connected and networked within the office or organization. They do well working cross functionally and in teams.
2) Millennials crave new ideas and innovation. This means three things in the workplace; they can work on multiple projects, they can be trained in many areas and they do well with mentors. Millennials are open and willing to be cross trained and can realize their full potential when they are guided by a seasoned mentor. And they tend to want and appreciate the knowledge and skill sets they can gain through mentorship.
3) Millennials need to see a path for their career: Studies show most millennials only see themselves in their current job for three years or less. They are not afraid of change and look for opportunities for growth. So it is important to help them see different paths for continued growth and change within an organization. That there are paths to move forward without leaving.
4) Millennials do well with structure and clear goals and expectations: But they don’t respond well to bureaucratic rules or autocratic directives. Millennials seem to work best when they have opportunities to share ideas and have input into decisions. They also need clearly defined results and expectations.
5) Millennials need to know “why”: If they are assigned a task or project it is important that it fits into a bigger picture and has a context. Because millennials grew up in a world of information, access and connectivity they want to be able to determine what is important, why it is important and how it connects to other things.
6) Millennials want a work-life balance: For the first time in history a generation values the social environment of the workplace and the work-life balance more than salary. They want to have some fun on the job, to do activities outside work with co-workers, to have team outings like doing a ropes course, scavenger hunt or paintball. And they want to bring life into work through personalizing the environment, working flexible hours and creating a more open and relaxed atmosphere.