Take the Mystery out of Managing Millennials: 4 Tips to Managing the Latest Workforce Arrivals

You’ve heard that Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1996) expect a prize for their every effort and take to heart Mr. Rogers’ message that they’re special. While there may be an element of truth to these Millennial stereotypes, it’s not the whole truth.

As employees, Millennials tend to see their jobs as a continuation of their education experience and expect their managers to share knowledge and act as coaches rather than “bosses.” Millennials are more than willing to work hard but want their work to have meaning and insist on a good work-life balance. They want a seat at the table and an opportunity to share their ideas as well as clear career-path options.

As a manager, you may not completely understand what makes them tick, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a successful working relationship. Here are four tips to make managing Millennials easier.

  • Affirmations, please! Annual appraisals aren’t enough. Millennials like to have early and constant affirmation on their work. On a regular basis, let them know when you like their ideas or when they’ve been especially effective.
  • Who’s responsible? Millennials’ feelings of entitlement cause them to crave responsibility. They feel they deserve it. You don’t have to hand over an entire project but if you clearly define a specific part of a project and make it theirs, they’ll embrace it.
  • Bending the rules. Rules don’t really work for Millennials. They’re used to being brought in on the decision-making process and want to have their say about any rules that apply to them. If you can be flexible about things like hours and attire, it’ll go a long way with Millennials.
  • Spell it out. Although Millennials want responsibility, you’ll need to be clear about expectations. Thorough discussions about expected outcomes and any project necessities are a must – combined with flexibility on how to accomplish the goals.

Please keep in mind that when talking about Millennials as a group, it’s using a broad brush. They’re individuals. And as you get to know them, you’ll gain more insight into what motivates and interests them, which can only help.

There’s no getting around it, managing Millennials can be tricky. But with the right approach, you can find yourself with creative, tech-savvy and resourceful workers.


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