Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace

If you google “Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace” you’ll get no shortage of responses, many relating to psychology, sociology, economics, and every other aspect of this topic. A particularly well researched source is UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School which believes that by 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all U.S. workers will be Millennials. As the demographics continue to tilt, inevitably the majority of the workforce will belong to this group which continues to struggle with negative stereotypes. Instead of focusing on the generational differences, as a leader in the communication development field, Speakeasy encourages you to find ways that embrace the attributes most Millennial possess.

Millennials are known to be creative, open to collaboration, resourceful, quick to learn and hardworking when motivated and it’s convenient for them. Juxtaposing those traits, Millennials are accustomed to coaching, supervision, and progress reports delivered in way that help them feel supported but not micromanaged. How do you walk the line of motivating but not stifling; encouraging without coddling?

Here are four “C” ideas to communicate effectively with millennials to maximize their contributions:

  1. Clear: Whether written or verbal, deliver clear and concise information that leaves no room for misinterpretation. Often if not sure what to do, millennials may stall or avoid the confusing instructions which lead to them appearing lazy. They may not volunteer questions so if in doubt, ask if they are clear on what to do.
  2. Consistent: Millennials are prone to quickly feeling neglected or the reverse, feeling like they are on the hot seat. As much as possible, maintain a consistent frequency to avoid a barrage of 10 emails in one sitting which might put someone on the defensive. Similarly, the hands-off approach with someone who’s doing well might feel like a punishment more than an earned reward.
  3. Convenient: Millennials are known for their love of flexible work options. Instead of bemoaning this, use their willingness to work via smartphone or at off hours as an asset. Need a quick answer, try a text. If a fire drill situation arises, I bet you will get a response from the twenty-something first if it’s after regular working hours. The key is to get to know their preferences and communicate with them in that way as much as possible.
  4. Compelling: The old adage of “What’s in it for me” is very important to Millennials but it’s not as cut and dry as you might think. A simple acknowledgement or thank you for the hard work is important to most of this group. Or letting them see the big picture… why are you or the company working so hard on this initiative and what is the end result? Being a contributor to a team is not a cliché, it’s a real desire, use it!


Tags: Millennial Development , Human Resources , Learning and Development ,

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