Managing Millennials in the Workplace

Dealing with Millennial employees is hard… If we know Millennials (and we do, or at least we try), the first thing that comes to mind in trying to define them is that, well, they are different. Different than everything we’ve seen so far. Different than everyone we’ve ever worked with. While some (okay, most) will find them annoying, pretentious, obnoxious and full of it (sorry, there’s no polite synonym for the feeling), others are absolutely stricken and inspired by their approach to both life and business. The way they live and work is bringing a totally fresh, challenging and intriguing modus operandi on the table, and we can’t say we aren’t intrigued. Naturally, dealing with things you don’t understand or don’t particularly like can be a bit challenging, especially if you are trying to run a business composed of at least 70% Millennial workforce.

To turn managing millennials in the workplace from a headache to pleasure, we’re listing out a few core tips to help you upgrade your Millennial management game and build fantastic business relationships with the generation.

Don’t Deny them Structure

Although Millennials are known to be super dedicated and hard-working, they do need banks on their pond. Don’t go and overwhelm them with too much of everything because they are not the kind to put up with anyone’s maltreatment, especially in the market that’s craving diligent talent. Exploit them, they’ll leave. Be concrete in what you expect from them, what their daily tasks are and what needs to be accomplished for their potential promotions to kick in. The moment you provide structure, you’ll have a happy, enthusiastic and goal-oriented Millennial in your office.

Be a Leader, not a Boss

Millennials appreciate leadership and guidance more than you’ll ever know; their thirst for knowledge and upgrade is absolutely incredible and they are always happy to work with people that motivate them to better. Their mentor’s supervision and feedback mean everything, so try to stay more involved with their work. Give them helpful tips on how to become better doing a particular task, teach them a new skill, challenge them to come up with a new business plan, etc. They’ll love to see you interested and engaged! Don’t get anxious or short-tempered if they ask you zillion questions about a topic assigned: be grateful for having an employee that cares.

Be Encouraging

Millennial employees are the type to take on the world; no matter how challenging, to them – any task is an opportunity to prove themselves, progress, meet other people who are as motivated as they are and turn them into their work buddies. Your job in dealing with Millennials is to inspire and support them, not contain them or box them in. Encourage them to voice their ideas, opinions, and thoughts on the ongoing projects, offer potential solutions or project-management ideas. They’ll be thankful that you’ve recognized the quality in them, and you’ll be amazed at just how much these people can do in a short amount of time.

Listen, just Listen

The generation that’s been very vocal about their opinions, attitudes, and desires, Millennials are a no-bullshit (pardon our French) generation that will tell it like it is. If you have an employee who is unhappy, and they are telling you WHY they are unhappy hoping to remedy it, but you are still taking it as a personal attack on you or your management style, you are the one who should re-think some stuff. To build a strong relationship with your Millennial employee, one built on trust, mutual respect and progress, listen to what they’ve got to say. Process it. Consider it. And then make a decision.

Don’t Bore Them

Boring is mind-numbing, and Millennials are everything but. They like a challenge, they like fun and inspiring. They are all about “the next thing”, and you need to keep them motivated. Trivializing their engagement and contribution or humiliating them by assigning tasks below their interest/intelligence level is not a good strategy. Instead, find their individual strengths and work with them. Be open and ask your Millennial employee what motivates them, and find a way to incorporate it into your business routine.

Give them Good Pay

Although Millennials are all about gaining as much experience as possible, constantly updating their resumes, staying dynamic in their careers, chasing new opportunities and trying new things, they still love their money (don’t we all?). If you’ve got an employee who is dedicated to the same goal as you are, provides exceptional work and keeps your firm flourishing, why would you deny them honest pay? Make sure their salaries match the work they are doing, and don’t be cheap when it comes to occasional rewards and bonuses. If they feel appreciated and valued for what they contribute to the firm, your Millennial will be busting their ass off working even more than you anticipate.

Provide a Fun, Balanced, Employee-Centered Workplace

With Millennials – it’s all about work. They are willing to spend hours on end at the office if the atmosphere fits. They are looking to have an enjoyable workplace that allows their creative juices to flow freely. Worry if your employees aren’t socializing at their workplace, laughing, making jokes with their colleagues and you, avoiding group gatherings or team buildings, etc. If they are not inspired by their surroundings, they’ll hardly be productive or enthusiastic about their projects. Think about that for a second.

These basic rules are all starting points for dealing with Millennials and building successful relationships. Think a little more about what could work at your workplace, and be cool enough to actually discuss it with your Millennial group. After all – who could better than a Millennial know what a Millennial wants, right?