A Cheatsheet to Leading Millennials Effectively

February 21, 2019 | Beth Thornton

It’s official, millennials have taken over the workforce. A staggering 56 million millennials make up the largest segment of the workforce in the U.S. This shift brings thrilling opportunities, but also means significant changes for organizations.

Millennials have different expectations of their workplace than previous generations have had before. Among other things, they want two-way feedback, flexibility, recognition for their hard work and to be listened to. These desires can be a tall order for any manager, but changing your management style is needed to retain millennial employees and keep them engaged at work.

So, where do you start?

Wondering what #millennials actually expect from their workplace? @InspireSoftware has the tips to lead this generation of your workforce effectively. Tweet this!

Focus on Feedback

Millennials are not satisfied with a singular annual review. Instead, they want a constant dialogue with their managers. Millennials are two times more likely to be engaged at work when they have regular performance focused conversations with their manager. These meetings don’t need to be lengthy, 20 to 30 minutes at least once every other week is plenty of time to check-in and will satisfy your employees' desire for face-to-face feedback.

When employees give and receive feedback it makes them feel more connected to their work and the people they work with, in turn, fighting feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is an epidemic in the U.S. 40% of Americans say they feel isolated from others, a lack of companionship and that their relationships aren’t meaningful. 54% of that same group said they feel like no one knows them well.

Interacting face-to-face with your employees and expressing genuine interest in them demonstrates that you see each employee as an important part of the team. Taking part in feedback sessions shows their struggles are valid and you care about them as an employee and, more importantly, as a person.

Giving feedback to many employees can be time-consuming, but it’s also rewarding. Feedback check-ins are an appropriate time to share areas of potential growth and give kudos for outstanding performance. Provide them with the tools they need to give and receive frequent feedback. To get the most out of feedback sessions both parties should be giving and receiving effective feedback on a regular basis.


Embrace Technology

Millennial’s love for tech is on a whole new level. When asked, “If you could only keep one, your smartphone or your sense of smell, which would you choose?” 23% of millennial participants chose their phone. As a manager, you might be irritated by this obsession, but the truth is it isn’t going anywhere. Instead of viewing it as an obstacle, look at it as an opportunity and embrace it.

There are several reasons to embrace your millennial employees’ love for tech:
  • Tech allows for increased flexibility in the workplace. With so much incredible technology available to connect us, it’s easier than ever to work remotely. 77% of millennials say flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive and enjoyable.

  • Tech-savvy organizations are more likely to attract and retain millennial employees.

    • 93% of millennials say modern and up-to-date technology is one of the most important aspects of a workplace to attract and retain them.

  • Growing up with so much technology has made millennials the pros at mastering new tech quickly, and they are happy to research options to find platforms that meet their organization's specific needs. Millennials love to work through issues and improve efficiency with the use of tech.

For all these reasons and more, it’s time to stop shaming your millennials for feeling anxious when their phone is on low battery and start asking yourself, “How can we make this work for us?”

Millennials make up the largest segment of the workforce in the U.S. Are you making changes to keep up with this shift? Get tips from @InspireSoftware to attract and retain millennials. Tweet this!

Recognize and Celebrate Hard Work

Along with feedback and modern tech, millennials want recognition for their accomplishments and dedication. Providing recognition is a win-win for organizations and employees. Companies with effective recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than those without.

Like feedback, this can seem time-consuming, but, your employees aren’t expecting a red carpet party, they’d just like a “Great work!” or “Nice job on that…”. When you provide recognition to your employees, it shows that you notice their contributions and view them as a person, not just the list of duties they’re responsible for. 85% of employees say regular recognition adds humanity to the workplace. In turn, your employees will feel valued at work and remain loyal to the organization.

As a leader, it’s your role to set an example by recognizing and celebrating the successes of your employees. When you do so, those behaviors spread and employees will begin giving peer-to-peer recognition more frequently. Peer-to-peer recognition is 35% more likely to have a positive financial impact than manager only, meaning a culture of recognition is actually good for your bottom line.


One Size Doesn’t Fit All

There’s no magic formula for managing millennials, but providing feedback, embracing tech and recognizing outstanding performance are a few good places to start. Your employees are one of a kind and leading them effectively should start with listening to them. Try these tips and tailor your approach only after you’ve listened to their needs.

Now that you know a few of the things your millennial employees want, how will you implement these changes? Download our Checklist to Leadership Excellence to better understand your part.

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