Managing millennials in the workplace
Millennials tend to get a bad wrap, but their unique skills and mindset are proving to be an asset in the business world.
Laziness, sassiness, financial flippancy – millennials, those who came of age in the nineties and naughties, tend to get a bad wrap from the outside world.
Studies consistently show that the common depiction of millennials is sorely off-kilter. The research actually shows that millennials are driven, hard workers who value flexibility, transparency, and global mobility. When championed correctly, millennials prove to be invaluable aids in an age of digital transformation.
So what can managers do to cultivate and champion the power of their increasingly millennial teams? What skills are required to manage them?
We talk about millennials as digital natives – but they’re also natural disruptors. That mindset has made them incredibly open to change, open-minded, and expectant of openness in return from their managers. They expect transparency in communication, are more keen to chip in their ideas or voice their opinion, as well as being involved in decisions.
Where possible, provide millennial teams ample opportunities to think and speak freely about their work. Communicate your vision, something this high-turnover demographic can believe in and stick to. Talk openly and honestly about process, performance and tasks in a way which shirks seniority, and you’ll create a freeing environment in which your younger team members will feel comfortable to contribute the thinking which may unlock the grand disruption you’re after.
Collaboration then becomes an important outlet for millennials and creating a climate in which ongoing conversations take place can more effectively channel this collaborative spirit.
As digital natives who are collaborative by nature, millennials thrive on co-working spaces, quiet-rooms for informal discussions, and collaborative tech tools. Embracing these collaboration tools and spaces will result in increased cohesion as traditional and non-traditional disciplines learn to understand each other.
All these influences have bred in millennials an expectation of flexibility in regards to work – the desire to work how and where and when you work best. In some professions this might not be realistic to cater to, but where possible, should be considered.
The nature of work in the millennial imagination is one which is less regimented. Some reports suggest that less than a third of millennials see themselves working regular working hours in the not too distant future. Mobility will become increasingly important as millennials don’t believe that ‘work’ should have to mean sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Working while commuting, in the local coffee shop, or sprawled out on the kitchen table are ways that millennials want be more productive, not less.
Building in flexible hours, policies, or tools around working remotely may be a way to satisfy this expectation while ensuring productivity.
Embrace for impact
With new talent comes new ideas and new technology, like Dropbox Business, to help mange those ideas and put them into practice. It can at times seem overwhelming, but the managerial response shouldn’t be inertia – it has to be a confident embrace. Ultimately, managing millennials isn’t about letting them run the ship, but rather, being in command of the environment that allows them at times to steer it.