Monday, October 20, 2014

6 Ways to Appeal to Millennials in the Workplace

My career will be more about enjoying the experience than earning money.  ~Millennial employee

This week I conducted two training sessions at a manufacturing plant.  The first was with a group of emerging leaders and the second was with the leadership team.  Or, said another way, the first was with mostly millennials and the second was with mostly baby boomers.  And this represents many, if not most, of the organizations I work with today.

According to HBR, in two years millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half of all employees worldwide.  So it's time we baby boomers started to make an effort to understand the differences and provide a workplace that is welcoming to both of these generations.  Following are a few key findings from a study conducted by PWC entitled Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace that I found helpful.

Help millennials grow: Managers need to really understand the personal and professional goals of millennials. Put them on special rotational assignments more frequently to give them a sense that they are moving toward something and gaining a variety of experiences.

Feedback, feedback and more feedback: Millennials want and value frequent feedback. Unlike the past where people received annual reviews, millennials want to know how they're doing much more regularly. Give honest feedback in real time — and highlight positive contributions or improvements on key competencies.

Set them free: Millennials want flexibility. They work well with clear instructions and concrete targets. If you know what you want done by when, why does it matter where and how they complete the task? Give them the freedom to have a flexible work schedule.

Encourage learning: Millennials want to experience as much training as possible. If your organization is more focused on developing high potentials, or more senior people, then you could risk losing future talent if you fail to engage millennials with development opportunities. Consider allocating projects to talented millennials which fall outside their day job. Let them connect, collaborate, build their networks – and most of all innovate.

Allow faster advancement: Historically, career advancement was built upon seniority and time of service. Millennials don't think that way. They value results over tenure and are sometimes frustrated with the amount of time it takes to work up the career ladder. They want career advancement much quicker than older generations are accustomed to.

Expect millennials to go: It's inevitable that the rate of churn among millennials will be higher than among other generations, especially since many have made compromises in finding their first job, and this should be built into your plans.

It's a new day in the workplace; a day that embraces and encourages millennials to become the leaders of the future.  The way of the baby boomers worked for the baby boomers.  But our time is passing, quickly.  We need to make way for the millennials and equip them to lead, their way.

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