They’ve been the largest generation in the U.S. workforce since 2015, but millennials are still a mystery to many of their senior counterparts. Defined by the Pew Research Center as those born between 1981 to 1997, these young professionals work a little differently than their Generation X and baby boomer peers.
Since Millennials entered the workforce, managers have struggled to understand them, and many still aren’t getting it. Just 29% of millennials are engaged in their jobs, according to a 2016 Gallup survey. If you’re having trouble motivating your millennial staffers, use these tips to manage them in a manner that fits their style.
4 Ways to Engage Millennial Staffers
Provide Feedback Regularly
Most baby boomers and Gen-Xers aren’t huge on feedback. Even an annual performance review is too much for many of these professionals, as critiques of their work make them uncomfortable.
On the other hand, millennials are a different story. They grew up with very hands-on parents who offered comments at every turn, so they expect the same at work. This group wants to know how they’re doing. They’ll happily accept your advice if they’re doing something wrong, but you better be ready with a compliment when they achieve just about anything.
Invest in Technology Updates
A tech savvy generation, Millennials were raised with computers and smartphones. Keeping up with the latest innovations is important to them, so if your company isn’t interested in upgrading obsolete software and tech equipment, they’ll lose interest — and fast. If possible, keep your Millennials happy by directing a healthy amount of your budget to regular tech investments.
Listen to Their Ideas
Millennials grew up with parents who always took their feelings into consideration, so now that they’re grown, they expect their boss and colleagues to do the same. They have plenty of ideas about their jobs and the company, and they expect to be heard.
Appease them by listening to what they have to say. Contrary to popular belief, millennials are reasonable people, so they understand every idea won’t be implemented. As long as you give them time to speak and take them seriously, they’ll be pleased.
Assign Meaningful Work
Whether they like the work or not, baby boomers and G-Xers are generally programmed to follow the boss’s orders. Millennials don’t work that way. If you assign them busy work, expect push back, because they like to focus on assignments with a purpose. Get them excited about the task at-hand by explaining how it ties into the bigger picture.
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