Managing millennials

Written by Terri Klass and Judy Lindenberger • Online since 15.09.2015 • Filed under Industry news • From Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016 page(s) 30-31
Managing millennials

Integrating the Millennials or Gen Y twenty-somethings into a Baby Boomer culture is a big challenge for business. Who are the Millennials, and how do we manage their expectations while maintaining high-performing organisations?

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is integrating the Millennials or Gen Y twentysomethings into a Baby Boomer culture. They are the newest generation to enter the labour market, arriving with their distinct ideas about what they expect from their jobs. They are our future leaders and our next generation of revenue-generators. The 75-million strong Millennial Generation was born between 1977 and 1998 and raised by ‘helicopter parents’ who doted on them, giving them an ample attention and validation. Because they were heralded with high expectations, Millennials tend to display an abundance of self-confidence and believe, from day one, that they are highly valuable to any organisation. They are focused on developing themselves and thrive on learning new job skills, always setting new challenges to achieve. They are also the ‘can do’ generation, never worrying about failure as they see themselves as running the world and work environments.

Unlike other generations, the Millennials are overly connected to their parents. They speak to their parents frequently and turn to them for personal and career advice. Some still live at home, not uncomfortable with the arrangement. Organisations must remember the parent involvement factor when dealing with this group.

These parents are still micro-managing their children’s careers and personal lives. When it comes to a work-life balance, Gen Y is not willing to give up their lifestyle for a career. They choose careers that allow them to live the life they desire, busy with after-work activities. Multitasking is their way of life. When their workday ends, Millennials charge out into gyms, volunteer positions, classes and social events. Millennials are team-oriented, banding together to socialise in groups. In school, this generation was taught lessons using a cooperative learning style – they feel comfortable working in teams and want to make friends with the people at work. They believe that a team can accomplish more and create a better end result. They also grew up in a multi-cultural world that enables them to work well in a team with diverse co-workers. They communicate in snippets through instant messaging, texting, Facebook and email. Quick and efficient communication is the way Millennials choose to interact, not necessarily face-to-face. They are typically unaware of their non-verbal cues. As a result, this generation tends to have more miscommunication between friends, co-workers and bosses. They forget that words only account for a small part of the communication, and spending time on the phone is not their number one choice. Of all of the talents that Millennials bring to the workplace, being technologically savvy is their greatest skill contribution. They are constantly connected, all while working on a critical project. Social media is at the heart of their world, allowing them to connect with co-workers and friends around the world at great speed. Another Millennials characteristic is their need for constant feedback and praise. They were reassured daily about their achievements. It is a generation that needs to continue feeling valuable, while adding their opinions and ideas to every company decision. In giving critical feedback, managers will need to first compliment Millennials before they will listen to any criticism. They also have little patience for ambiguity, so directions during feedback sessions must be clear and specific. Organisations will be more successful delivering performance milestones on a more frequent basis, rather than once a year. The feedback sessions must be interactive, so that the Millennial is presented with the opportunity to share their feelings and ideas.

So how do you integrate and manage the youngest generation within the workplace? Here are some key tips and insights.

Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016

Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016

This article was featured on page 30-31 of SABI Magazine Issue 2 - September 2015 - February 2016 .

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