Millennials are currently the largest sector of the workforce, albeit by a small margin. However as Generation X transitions into retirement, company executives and managers must cater to a new generation with a different mode of thought. When thinking of a leader as an influencer, he or she is responsible for motivating and inspiring employees to greater levels of productivity, but what moves millennials into fervent or dedicated workplace performance? How should managers tailor leadership skills and training to the needs of a new perspective?
If you’ve been paying attention to recent shifts in social perceptions, you’ll already know millennials are completely over working long hours for money they’ll never get to spend because they’re always at work. Allow for sick days, but make sure employees have a chance to take a long 10-day vacation too. Three or four days away from the office are hardly enough time to fully unplug the various work-related electronic and emotional connections. Employees need a reprieve and frankly, some of the best solutions result from a rested minds subconscious. Millennials hardly mind the work grind, but they want to know they’ll get the time off they’ve earned.
Millennials are creative thinkers and problem solvers; so sitting in a stuffy cubicle is not their ideal workspace. Of course, certain positions require office time at least intermittently, but giving your millennial workers the freedom to move around or work from home might just inspire them to be more productive. Trade in your performance reviews and rubrics for frequent email or messaging check-ins. You can still get frequent updates on project progress and your employee has the freedom to create a timetable that will allow them to visit the doctor’s office before 5pm and complete their assignments by the deadline. This method requires a bit more trust, but don’t mistake a millennial’s thirst for flexibility and independence for a lack of work ethic.
Who do millennials want to work for? They seek companies with a reputation for innovation and/or ethical practices. Innovative and ethical environments provide millennials with empowering managers and enterprise protocols that will treat them well regardless of the situation. This generation wants to pitch new ideas to a manager who’s truly considering the proposal while knowing their employer will fulfill promises of advancement, medical benefits and time off when applicable. Moreover, employees want to distance themselves from the possibility of waking up to see their company made headlines for a scandal or unethical practice.
Employee motivation is always at the forefront of manager’s mind, but what worked for Generation X won’t play as well with millennials. They are looking for employers they can trust to provide quality work environments and careers without asking them to sacrifice they personal lives or ethical standards. Managers will need to focus less on productivity metrics and more on fostering effective communication between employees and management. Millennials are happy to put in the work for personal and company progress, if you believe in them and they believe in you.