Your Guide To Millennials In The Workplace

Each person has his or her own intrinsic motivators

Organizations rely heavily on their management teams to ensure successful day-to-day operations, yet our society often lampoons management as being like “Keystone Cops” — highly inept and often in the way.

Yes, there may be managers who exhibit such characteristics, but on a whole this isn’t an accurate or fair depiction.

Managers are tasked with making sure that the core fundamentals of an organization run smoothly and that the bottom-line is met, while keeping employees highly engaged and committed to providing their best each and every day.

Those tasks alone are daunting, but things get even more complicated once you take generational differences into account.

Let’s examine a few of the challenges managers might face, particularly when it comes to supervising Millennials.

Your Guide To Millennials In The Workplace
If you’ve hired anyone in the last 10 years, odds are that some of these new employees are Millennials.

Just as with Gen Xers and Boomers before them, the specimen we scrutinize, examine, and try to understand today is the Millennial.

So what is a manager to do? It’s enough to make one’s head spin!

Before we go any further, let’s first pause together, take a deep breath, and come to the consensus that, at the end of the day, this is not a new situation — generational differences have always existed and we’re here today because managers throughout history have been able to adapt.

Let’s start by looking at some of the biggest myths about Millennials

1) Millennials are self-absorbed, lazy, and narcissistic

This is a common generalization that people commonly apply to those younger than them.

Would we not have this same opinion of the Boomers if we looked through the lens of the Greatest Generation?

Gallivanting around in tie-dye, protesting, sitting in, tuning outs — it’s no wonder they were once viewed as a generation of hooligans.

And yet every generation since then has been slapped with similar stereotypes.

2) Millennials lack organizational loyalty

We could look at this as a two-lane road where organizations’ loyalty to employees has diminished just as much as employees’ loyalty has.

But a much stronger argument, backed up by years of examples, is that the younger generations have historically switched jobs more frequently.

Older generations have typically found their niche by the time they start examining the employment habits of those younger than them, and time often creates the illusion of memories that are not quite as accurate as we hope. 

3) Millennials are not interested in their work

The truth is that they may not be interested in their work, if it is boring. Millennials crave motivation, which often depends on the scope and impact of the work presented to them.

Their lack of interest in unchallenging or unfulfilling work is on par with older generations — those seated lower within an organization often don’t have the same satisfaction in their day-to-day simply because they are making ripples, while those at the top are making tsunami-force waves.

Now that we’ve busted some of the myths, what are the differences between Millennials and the other generations on your teams, and how can you be a more effective manager?

Here are a few ideas! 

1. Blur the lines

The divisions that have been accepted, and even fostered, by past generations do not apply with Millennials.

You versus them; work versus personal; face-to-face versus electronic; even being inspired versus being enabled.

Millennials don’t draw the same historical lines of separation, rather they look at the world with a holistic view — all parts come together as a sum of the universe at large.

As a manager of Millennials, show them the same respect that you would like to receive.

Remember that physical presence isn’t always necessary — leverage the technology at your disposal to encourage a more flexible work environment.

2. Provide purpose

Nobody is going to turn down perks. However, with Millennials, these proverbial carrots are not what truly engages them.

Sure, we hear about the hot new start-ups with their air hockey tables, napping pods, baristas, and even giant playground-style slides.

Perks? Yes. Trendy? Sure. Difference makers? Maybe.

If you want to really see your Millennial employees achieve and flourish, give them opportunities to grow.

Go beyond providing a set of tasks, and instead set new expectations, being sure to note why it is important to the organization and how their success will impact the big picture.

It’s not always going to be monumental.

However, establishment of purpose will go a long way toward engaging your workforce. 

3. See the person

Taking a page right out of Boomer history, Max Yasgur (the dairy farmer whose land was the site of Woodstock ’69) was quoted as saying, “Look beyond the labels.

See the person.” He was, of course, pleading to his town’s elders in regards to the rag-tag group of hippies that were set to take over Bethel, N.Y. As a manager, it is your duty to look beyond the stereotypes and aforementioned myths — your employees were hired because they had the skillsets to get the job done!

Each person has his or her own intrinsic motivators, and we, as managers, need to remove our blinders, see the person and foster an environment where their individual successes translate into organizational prosperity.


Originally posted on iMediaConnection by Michelle KruseMichelle is recruitment, editor, and content manager at ResumeEdge.

Written By

Norberts Erts

HR Degen and Product Marketing Manager at Sage. Former Co-founder of HR software company CakeHR (acquired by The Sage Group plc in 2019). Keep a sharp eye on HR, marketing, business, finance, science, technology, and the connections between them.