Every generation has its own expectations for how it will work. In the 1950s, men primarily entered the workforce. In the 1990s, baby boomers and the Internet took over. Today, we’re seeing millennials enter the workforce.
So what does that mean for how we work?
Mavenlink asked millennial supervisors at various service providers to describe the change they see between boomers and millennials, and how they stay productive with a new personality of workforce.
Here are seven ways to supercharge your business when you have a millennial team.
1. First, Do Dinner and Drinks
I found that when millennials put in hard work, they want to celebrate with their co-workers. I like to take our entire team out to dinner and happy hour at the taco shop across the street from our agency when we achieve a major accomplishment. Whether we bring on a new associate or a new client, good times deserve a celebratory experience.
This creates camaraderie and team bonding. Ultimately, this leads to better work and makes everyone want to accomplish goals together.
2. Reward Them with Experiences
"Millennials and boomers are completely different. Just about every interaction with a boomer involves money." — Nick Braun, CEO Pet Insurance Quotes
Millennials and boomers are completely different. Boomers are more focused on retirement and monetary incentive. Just about every interaction with a boomer involves money.
Millennials on the other hand aren't as interested in money. Millennials like learning, growing, and experiencing new things. They want enough to live and enjoy life, but they don't seem to care about retirement yet. So we’ve found the best way to motivate millennials is to provide them with experiences. Experiences are the new currency for millennials.
To provide these experiences, we find ways to include millennials in meetings. We take them on sales calls and let them run booths at trade shows. As long as you can keep pushing Millennials and allow them to experience and grow they will not want to leave.
3. Flex Those Hours
Peter Moeller, Director of Marketing and Communications, Scarinci Hollenbeck | New Jersey, United States
The millennials I supervise work best with a flexible schedule. One part-time employee works remotely while at school. He makes his own hours, because it works for him and works for me as well. Much of what he does involves updating the website, which need not be done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The other two millennials I supervise are creative geniuses. I find that they don't necessarily like to conform to the 9-to-5 lifestyle. So I have adjusted their schedules when necessary, which greatly increases their productivity.
Incidentally, another member of my team is a boomer, and she prefers a more structured schedule.
4. Don't Micromanage
Ninety-five of my employees and contractors are millennials! To inspire their best work, I do not micromanage my employees. Instead, I focus on the end result: When can you finish this task and how good is it? This shifts their focus on the end result of their work instead of the time they put into it, which benefits us both.
5. Mentor Like (Not a) Boss
Millennials prefer a mentor rather than a “boss.” The millennials I supervise seem eager to learn from my team’s professional and personal experience, so that they can advance their career faster. They are inspired by managers that empower them to fulfill their goals, and they tie those goals back to the success of the company.
By contrast, they don’t typically respond well to a manager who operates in a top-down, non-collaborative fashion.
To be mentors instead of bosses, we maintain transparent relationships. Ideas, feedback, and critiques are openly embraced. Millennials appreciate face-to-face direction on how they can successfully carry out their day-to-day responsibilities and what they can do to improve the quality of their work.
6. Give Them a Voice
As a millennial attorney, my key to helping millennials being successful is simple: Give them a voice in their career and firm.
Millennials care more about forging their own career paths than following traditional, prescribed paths for success. The leading businesses are creating custom career paths tailor-made to the worker's specific situation, goals, and objectives. As the most educated generation in history, millennials also want a voice in their companies. They want the opportunity to evaluate their boss—a concept that was unheard of in boomer generations and less common for GenXers. The millennial mind thinks, If you want the most out of me or another millennial, you need to give me the tools I need to explore, expound, and execute on these thoughts.
7. Create Remote Environments
"Our remote working environment intrinsically fits millennials’ preferences and the culture they expect." — Kean Graham, @MonetizeMore
My company has over 60 team members, and for six years we have been location independent. Millennials thrive in this work environment because it offers lifestyle autonomy, creative freedom, and transparency. Our remote working environment intrinsically fits millennials’ preferences and the culture they expect. We let our employees draw on creative, independent work and internal motivation. To ensure work quality, we also created transparent key performance indicators (KPIs) that they could check each day. Couple that with financial incentivization, this fueled our millennials to drive toward better KPI performance, which drove higher overall revenues and profits. It’s a win-win for both of us.
Millennials are populating the workforce in higher numbers. Whereas boomers prioritize retirement and traditional work environments, millennials are asking for greater flexibility in location and culture. Here are seven ways to motivate them:
- Bond over happy hour
- Create memorable work experiences
- Give them flexible schedules
- Trust them without micromanaging
- Be a mentor before a boss
- Let them shape their careers
- Offer remote working
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