A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with a friend who was visiting from out of town. She had lived here previously and had arranged a get together with some of her former colleagues, who I didn’t know, and some of our mutual friends. During the course of the conversation, we ended up having a fairly heated discussion regarding managing employees who are in the beginning of their career – the millennials. I listened while several professional women discussed the perceived problem of working with these employees who they could neither figure out how to motivate nor seem to understand.
I went home that evening and started to re-read the book Managing the Millennials by Chip Espinoza, Mick Ukleja and Craig Rusch and wanted to share some of their insights.
The Millennial generation is not like all the others before it. Technology has changed the game for the generational differences. For the first time in our history, seeking out an authority figure on a topic is no longer the primary way to get information. Google, Bing and other search engines are constantly at their fingertips allowing for instant access to knowledge. This doesn’t mean that mentoring and leadership is not needed. In fact, because of the deficit in social interaction technology has created, the millennial needs you more than ever
Millennials are creative. Leverage creativity. Instead of being exasperated that the millennials are frustrated by the order and process of your systems, allow them to offer a fresh perspective and insight into solutions to problems you are facing. The passive resistance that you may experience with a millennial at times can be counteracted when engaging them in a creative endeavor.
Create a millennial friendly culture. Whine, moan and drag your feet all you want, the millennials as a group have strengths and weaknesses just like every other generation, and being upset by those weaknesses isn’t going to change them. Identify managers who are effective with millennials and give them the opportunity to share what they know with the rest of your team. Talk with the millennials in your organization and include them in the creation of this pro-millennial culture.
This generation has untapped talent to offer to all types of businesses. The manager who learns to equip, engage and unleash the millennial will transform his team and ultimately his company.