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They're Here! Managing Millennials

The Millennial demographic is now the largest generational work force group in Canada. And with Baby Boomers retiring in droves, it’s a sellers market for Millennials looking for careers. If employers don’t figure out how to motivate and manage them, they will lose out to those employers who have.

Do you have a group of employees between the ages of 20 and 35? Are you finding it difficult to understand how to get the best out of them? Read on.

First Ah-Ha! – Millennials Like Being Part of Groups

Millennials are most comfortable working in groups and they value diverse opinions. In an IBM study of Millennial workers, more than half said they made better business decisions when there was a group of people providing a variety of input before the decision had to be made. 

Key Takeaway: Millennial workers want to have opportunities to input to your decisions. Even when making their own decisions, they want to hear the opinions of others first.

You Need to Consider:

Second Ah-Ha! – Millennials Want More Technology in the Workplace

Millennial employees are not only adept at using technology; they prefer to use technology to get the work done efficiently. Yet, 60% of them prefer in-person collaboration, an apparent contradiction of the use of faceless, impersonal technology. They see technology delivering efficiency and given that they don’t want to work, work, work, it all makes sense.

Key Takeaway: Millennials will try and inject technology in every aspect of the organization, if they had the opportunity - that is a double edged sword.

You Need to Consider:
Embrace their love of technology and be open to improving business processes so that they too use more technology.

Manage the Millennial desire to use technology everywhere and make sure there is an open, collaborative process for deciding where and when to introduce technological improvements - unless it helps the organization function, technology shouldn't be embraced.

Third Ah-Ha! – Millennials Want to Develop Their Skills

They are more concerned with learning skills than earning more money and they know feedback is the key to personal development.

Key Takeaway: You can’t get by with an annual performance appraisal. You need to provide informal feedback regularly (think weekly) to Millennials - really, you should be providing feedback to everyone you work with.

You Need to Consider:

Finally, four strategies to help manage all the different generations in your workplace:

  1. Start a mentoring program that includes a strong element of cross-generational interaction. Younger employees should learn to seek the experience and wisdom offered by senior employees. Older employees should learn to be open to the fresh perspectives offered by younger employees.
  2. Offer different working options like telecommuting and working offsite. Focus on the results employees produce rather than on how they get it done. Use it to motivate.
  3. Accommodate different learning styles. Baby Boomers may favour more traditional training methods like Power Point presentations and classroom sessions, while younger workers may gravitate towards more interactive, technology-based forms of learning.
  4. Keep employees engaged. Provide regular educational and training opportunities as well as career advice to keep all workers interested in the company. Get the different generations talking to each other on how to work together.


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