Managing Millennial Workers

Lucas Deal December 27, 2012

Another important step in managing millennial workers is understanding their connection to each other. Because their personal lives are intertwined together, they like for their work to be the same.

“This is a group that really understands teamwork,” Carlson says, adding that millennials feel comfortable and enjoy teaming up with others to complete a task. She says that mindset is different from past generations where individualism was more common.

“What worked for your Baby Boomers may be counterproductive for your millennials,” Carlson says.

But just because millennials like working together doesn’t mean they oppose management structure. Carlson says millennials actually welcome promotions and rising through a business — they just have a different view of how that should be done.

Millennials believe talent and skill leads to success, and they expect promotions and career growth to go the same way. To them, experience and seniority should take a back seat to ability.

“This group is all about the meritocracy,” says Carlson. Promoting someone who’s been a steady, consistent employee for 15 years over a new but talented employee can confuse them.

“They don’t really understand seniority and experience,” she adds. “When they do things well, they expect validation for their ability.”

That’s a situation where Carlson says it is important to sit down with a millennial and talk to them about your process. Millennials are used to having access to as much information as possible, so any information you can give them about your business and their role in it will help make them comfortable.

The way you present that information also can help strengthen your relationship with these young employees.

Carlson says millennials prefer discussing their work and career in an informal setting. “They don’t want to be lectured,” she says. If you need to discuss a millennial’s performance, take them out for coffee or ask them how they feel things are going. Be engaging with them in a personal sense.

“They are much more likely to listen in an informal setting,” says Carlson.

If you can do this well you are in luck. Since the millennial generation is 27 or younger, their entire career is ahead of them. Learning how to manage them can provide you a hard-working group of employees for years to come.

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