Tackling the Issue of Managing Millennials

Just the term Millennial is enough to strike if not fear, at least some apprehension in the hearts of employers. The concept of effectively managing Millennials seems to be one that eludes many workplace leaders, and increasingly there are reports that not only are managers having trouble with both attracting and managing Millennials, but that there are conflicts arising in the workplace as a result of differences in generations.

The Boomer vs. The Millennial

Managing millenials

Managing millenials

There seems to be a huge chasm between two primary generations making up today’s workforce—the Baby Boomer is typically the generation that’s filling leadership positions within many organizations.

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These individuals were often born around the end of the Baby Boomer years, putting them in their early to mid-50s—frequently the age when people begin advancing toward leadership positions.

Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum is the Millennial. These people are usually 20-somethings and although they may have more formal education than any generation before them and more technical know-how, they also tend to have a lack of real-world or job experience. The differences in the Boomer and Millennial generations is creating friction in the workplace, leading to misconceptions on the part of both age groups.

Without being able to address the unique factors that come into play when managing a Millennial, it will be impossible for organizations to thrive and remain competitive. Millennials offer a unique set of skills, and despite their differences from older generations, they do offer tremendous value, if they’re managed in the right way.

The Basics of Managing Millennials

Every individual is unique of course, and you may encounter Millennials with a work style more similar to a Boomer, but in general there are some similarities in the style and approach of this generation, and when these similarities are taken into consideration, it makes it easier to develop a talent management strategy that’s going to allow the entire organization to thrive.

  • Millennials are great at multitasking, and they tend to want to take an approach to their job that’s flexible, but also complex and multi-layered. What this means is that Millennials can become bored very easily and they have short attention spans, but they thrive when they’re managed in a way that encourages a work-life balance, which is why you’ll see top companies like Google focusing on creating a work environment that fosters personal development, volunteering, and participating in work-based social events and activities.
  • This generation expects constant communication. Millennials represent a demographic that has been continuously connected to the world around them, essentially since they were children. They thrive with a strong focus on communication in the workplace. They want goals and expectations to be communicated and they want to know what the future holds. They also want a sense of directness and transparency on the part of their leaders. Similarly, just as Millennials want to hear from you, they also want to feel they’re being heard. They want to express their ideas, their frustrations and their goals, and feel as if they’re being listened to. They’re often less afraid to approach their leaders, and they want that to be respected by the people managing them in the workplace.
  • Along with the concept of communication comes something else important to this newest generation of the workforce—feedback. Employees in their 20s and early 30s both expect and demand a continual amount of feedback on their job performance, particularly when it comes to letting them know what they’re doing right, but also wrong. Feedback in the workplace used to mean a yearly performance report, but Millennials demand it on a daily basis, to guide them and help them make the best decisions and choose the right next step in their career.

These are of course generalities that can help managers tackle the Millennial generation. As more Millennials enter the workplace and also advance through the ranks of their career, there’s likely to be a shift in talent management, and a more robust effort to speak to the unique characteristics of this young and idealistic, but also very valuable generation.

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September 18, 2014   Updated :March 16, 2016   managing millennials, millennials   

One response to “Tackling the Issue of Managing Millennials”

  1. […] means in the workplace is important outside of Silicon Valley as well, particularly since so many Millennial employees are seen as overachievers in many ways. This demographic is the most educated in history, tends to […]

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