Millennials are taking the workforce by storm.
Generation Y, or millennials, as they are commonly called, are those born between 1976 and 2001. And by 2014, they are projected to make up 36 percent of the workforce. Thus, it’s quite likely that as a manager working in government, you will encounter and work with millennials.
Millennials and older employees can often clash due to divergent perspectives on values and approaches pertaining to work, so in order to create an environment that elicits the best performance from millennial employees, it’s important to understand their perspective. Here are five tips to help you familiarize yourself with the Gen-Y perspective and effectively manage millennials:
1. Give Them a Chance to Lead
While millennials are young, they don’t want to be coddled. In fact, according to the “Maximizing Millenials” infographic produced by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Young Entrepreneurs Council, millennials want to lead.
Ninety-two percent of the surveyed 21-to-24-year-olds in the infographic believe entrepreneurial skills are a necessity in the present economy and job market.
Thirty-five percent have started a side business.
Thirty percent started a business during their time in college.
Recognize the entrepreneurial spirit that millennials possess and give them opportunities to explore that side of their nature. By providing an environment that allows for skill cultivation, you’re less likely to have high millennial turnover. And you can benefit immensely from millennials’ proficiency in fields like social media and technology.
2. Provide Real-Time Feedback
The fact remains that millennials are in the early stages of their careers, and they’re eager to learn and enhance their skill sets. In the “Maximizing Millenials” infographic, 80 percent of surveyed millennials said they preferred receiving feedback in real time rather than during a traditionally scheduled performance review. Giving feedback to millennial employees in real-time furthers professional development as it allows millennials to implement constructive advice immediately and improve their performance. If the feedback is wholly positive, it lets the employees know that they’re on the right track.
3. Encourage Open Communication
Millennials are considerably less rigid and formal than older generations, and they seek work environments that complement their more relaxed nature. This doesn’t mean that millennials want to do away with the dress code, but it does mean that they seek an environment that will provide them with the comfort they feel is necessary for them to excel at their job. A workplace that promotes open communication will lead to a more relaxed office environment, one in which millennials feel at ease.
4. Help Them Grow — and They’ll Stay
Millennials are perceived by many employers as flighty, and as the “Maximizing Millennials” infographic illustrates, it’s with good reason.
Seventy percent of surveyed millennials plan to leave their current job once the economy improves, so to minimize turnover at your office, provide millennial employees with opportunities for professional growth.
Sixty-five percent of surveyed millennials felt that the opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in their current job. Provide training and development as possible within your organization, and millennials will be more likely to stay so they can further cultivate their skills.
5. Develop Opportunities for Collaboration
Group projects are quite appealing to millennials because they tend to be collaborative by nature, so creating opportunities for teamwork is a great way to actively engage millennials while bridging the generation gap between millennials and older employees. Team projects remove barriers between employees, contributing to a more informal environment that seemingly does away with the office hierarchy, to which millennials respond positively. Collaborative endeavors also help millennials learn and expand their skill sets as they learn new ideas and approaches through discussions with fellow employees.