Effectively Managing Millennials the Easy Way
Do you have Millennials on your staff?
If so, you’ve probably read one of the countless opinion pieces out there that “explain” why managing Millennials is nearly impossible.
While everyone is different, in my experience, managing Millennials is not only easy, but understanding how to do it effectively can actually improve your entire organization.
4 Easy Tips for Successfully Managing Millennials
The Millennials at your company may not seem especially difficult to manage. Nonetheless, I still encourage you to consider these four tips.
Aside from the fact that they will prove effective for managing most staff members, you’ll probably find that your Millennial employees – even the ones you think are doing a great job – start producing even greater results when you implement this advice.
1. Incentivize Them with More than Money
Don’t get me wrong: you still need to pay Millennials.
However, they also value another incentive. Millennials want the opportunity to learn new skills.
For one thing, those who grew up in the 90s are used to environments with very short feedback loops. That’s not to say they have short-attention spans, simply that growing up with the Internet and no shortage of gadgets has geared them toward tasks that provide lots of results along the way.
This isn’t a bad thing.
First, it means they want challenges. Give them new tasks as often as possible, especially those that will require mastering new skills.
If the work they do doesn’t accommodate a lot of variability, create new metrics. If they’re supposed to make 10 calls a day, increase that as time goes on. Raise the bar on the total number of leads they generate. For sales calls, you can even challenge them to increase the amount of time they can keep someone on the line or count the number of times they get past gatekeepers like receptionists.
Second, this hunger for new challenges means managing Millennials goes hand-in-hand with employee development. They want it. You don’t have to convince them of the importance of investing in themselves. As long as you can keep challenging them, your employee will continue improving.
2. Provide Them with Autonomy
Managing Millennials is often harder than it needs to be because most managers don’t realize that these employees crave autonomy.
Once again, they spent much of their youth using technology to find the best way to achieve the results they want. This meant using apps, watching YouTube videos with free advice, or just asking their friends on social media for help.
They’ve unwittingly become very adept at finding the most effective path to success.
Obviously, you still need to establish rules and confines within which they must work.
After that, though, you’ll find that managing Millennials means stepping back and allowing them to hit targets on their terms.
This may mean offering them flexibility with the hours they work or from where they work them (consider remote offices).
Keep in mind, this can also be an incentive, too. You can set goals and reward your workers with more autonomy for meeting them.
3. Provide Them with Direction
In the past, an annual review was generally considered efficient for employees. You’d look over their past year and talk about what you expected of them over the next 365 days. This is usually when you’d talk about their prospects, too – if they were interested
Managing Millennials means you can assume that they’re always interested.
Remember, this generation loves a challenge. If they’re not receiving it, they’ll go elsewhere. Millennials aren’t as worried about jumping ship to another company if that’s where they think greater opportunities awaits.
Again, constant challenges help, but hold regular conversations with them, as well. At the very least, hold these once a quarter. Once a month would be ideal.
During these reviews, don’t just go over their recent performances. Ask them about their professional goals and recommend ways they can continue making progress. Try our Annual Goal Setting Booklet to help establish goals for your Millennial employees, and In the future, look for tasks that you can align them with to meet their goals, as well.
Mentorship is key for retaining Millennials, but also it’s a great management tool, too.
4. Reward Them with Recognition
They might loath to admit this, but Millennials love recognition.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Most of them can hardly remember a time before their phones shook because someone liked their picture or retweeted their post.
This is another example of an incentive Millennials will work for that will benefit the rest of your company, too. Recognition in the workplace is an extremely powerful motivator. Millennials may want it the most, but your other employees will also respond positively to it.
The important thing about recognition is that you don’t always provide it the same way. Here are some simple examples:
- Hand out awards
- Offer actual gifts
- Recognize employees at staff meetings
Furthermore, it’s just as important that you make recognition a part of your overall company culture. Everyone in a management position, from a supervisor to the president, should be recognizing employees who go beyond for the company.
Most forms of recognition are completely free. It doesn’t cost anything to mention someone’s hard work at the next all-staff meeting or reward an employee with a reserved parking space. It’s an easy but effective way to manage Millennials (and reduce turnover).
Beyond Managing Millennials
Of course, you probably employ more than just Millennials in your office.
So, if your overall management skills are lacking, the above advice will only get you so far.
I have two solutions I’d like you to know about.
The first is my Take the Lead™ program. It’s an eight-week training program that will cover important topics like creating actionable goals, motivating your team, and holding people accountable.
If you work in sales, then I also recommend Systematic Foundation™. This is another eight-week program, but it’s for those who want help designing and implementing a sales process for their entire organization.
Combine professional coaching with the tips we just covered and you’ll find that managing Millennials is easy and produces unprecedented results for your company.
Founder of RedRock Leadership