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Managing Millennial Workers

Lucas Deal December 27, 2012

Taking a new approach with these young employees will strengthen your relationship

By Lucas Deal, Associate Editor

lucasdeal@randallreilly.com

Every generation that enters the workforce permanently changes it. From the Baby Boomers 50 years ago to Generation X a few decades later, change is around the corner.

The generation that is currently spurring revolution and change to the modern workforce is the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y or the Echo Boomer Generation, says Kathryn Carlson, product director at KPA Online.

While this new generation is entering the full-time workforce for the first time, Carlson says it is a group that is capable of working, and looking at work, differently than any generation that came beforehand.

Because of this, she says it is important for dealers to understand the social and motivational differences between this new group and your veteran employees.

The Millennial Generation is incredibly talented, but how much of that talent you can pull into your business will depend on how you manage them.

These kids don’t operate the way their predecessors do, says Carlson.

“You want to manage to your individuals,” she says, “but as a group, millennials look at work differently than [past generations].”

Carlson says one of the most obvious differences between millennial workers and other employees is how fluent and acclimated they are with technology, and how they rely on it for social, personal and professional interaction. Millennial workers’ personal and professional lives are woven together through their online presence. They are constantly connected to their friends, family and interests, but also to you and your employees.

This can be a major advantage for your business if you can discover how to harness it, Carlson says.

“Technology is a toy to them. They use it all the time,” she says. “If you give them technology to use, they will play with it and learn the best way to use it. They can find a way to use it that other [employees] may not.”

If you pair that willingness to learn with creative freedom, millennials will leap into their work with unbridled enthusiasm. Schedules won’t even matter.

“If you give them something they are interested in they will work long hours,” Carlson says. “But you have to keep them engaged. They have to feel like it’s worth it.”

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