The millennial generation is the largest in existence, with experts believing that by 2018, those born between 1980 and the year 2000 will have the most spending power of any generation.
For want of a better phrase, they’re everywhere. In fact, a member of the millennial generation is writing this very post (I just made it, having been born in 1980), but we can also be found increasingly within sectors that have traditionally been stomping grounds for our parents. For example, would it surprise you to hear that millennials are developing a passion for motorhomes?
To older generations, millennials are often seen as procrastinators who would rather spend time sharing pictures of their lunch on social media and discussing the latest drama in the Big Brother house than being productive, but that’s a rather unfair assumption to make.
The millennial generation is a highly creative one that is curious, keen to learn and intrinsically aware of how technology can benefit one’s progress through life. We’ve witnessed the birth of the internet, a constantly changing political landscape and financial crashes of significant magnitude.
These experiences have helped foster a fascinating generation of young, bright people. But how do you get the best of them in the workplace?
In this post, I’ve got a few ideas that might just make your day.
1. Embrace Technology
Millennials have adopted technology so comprehensively that it’s now an intrinsic part of their every day lives. They value social media, smartphones and ever-present internet connectivity as absolute necessities and if they’re unable to make use of such tools at work, they’ll quickly become disengaged.
The bring your own device (BYOD) culture is feared by many businesses, but it should be embraced. With the right controls in place, you can embrace technology by allowing people to use their own devices to do better work. Similarly, if social media is an important part of your digital marketing strategy (it should be) target the millennials in your organization for advice and assistance in managing the output.
2. Focus On Guidelines Rather Than Policies
Policies are hard-and- fast rules that must be followed. In certain circumstances, they make utter sense (the fire alarm evacuation procedure, for example), but in others, they do nothing more than disengage the younger members of your team.
A case in point: do you really need a stringent business travel policy? Or would it be far more sensible to demonstrate some trust and flexibility by offering guidelines for those heading out on business trips? Millennials will tow the line, but are far more likely to do so if you make it clear that compliance with company policy is a two-way street that is, sometimes, open to interpretation (if it results in a better job being performed, of course).
3. Get Creative With Your Workspace
The days of beige offices featuring nothing more than a few pot plants and uninspiring, green filing cabinets are over. Wall art, funky furniture and a PRS license for background music will help keep your millennial staff engaged, but it’ll also create a pleasant working environment for everyone else.
Get creative with your office and those within it will deliver ever more impressive results.
4. Focus On The ‘Why’, Not The ‘How’
We’ve already established that millennials like to be given a degree of free reign to explore their own ideas and use creative thought to overcome challenges. For that reason, whenever a project is handed over to them, the focus should be on the ‘why’, not the ‘how’. Why are you asking the employee to undertake this task? What’s in it for them and the company? Give a millennial a compelling reason for doing something and they’ll go at it with everything they’ve got.
Millennials aren’t tigers that need taming. They’re not an alien species that needs to be dissected, tested and pondered over in order to be fully understood. They’re an inventive and creative bunch who want to be successful and move on to bigger and better things. Every business needs people like that, doesn’t it?
Use the tips above within your organization and you’ll retain your brightest young stars for many years to come.