Apr 07 0 Responses

Building a Productive Millennial Workforce

Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps the most talented generation of employees, the Millennials, are entering the workforce. They are trying to figure out where your company fits in their lives. Not where they fit in your company. Engaging this generation in a way that understands that mindset while still maximizing their potential is one of the biggest competitive advantages in the market today.

Millennials grew up in a world where contributions were more important than credentials. When they upload a video to YouTube or post their latest blog no one is asking what film school they attended or where they received their journalism degree. Creating an environment of meritocracy resonates. If you truly listen, trust and loyalty follow – and from a group that grew up in a world of globalization, outsourcing, and corporate bankruptcies that’s significant.

This group has received more respect from their parent’s and teachers than any generation, and the quickest way to get them to shut down is to talk down to them. On the flip though, the best way to engage them is to really get to know them. Know their names, the projects they’re working on, and spend enough time with them on a regular basis to set them up for success. Set clear boundaries and a structure that the employee can have autonomy in. Avoid generic advice. Give something that is concrete and actionable. They need to understand we’re all on the same team, and we’re working toward a particular goal together.

There is nothing more exciting/nerve-wracking than the first day on a new job. New hires walk in on fire, and you’re either going to throw water or gasoline on the spark. Millennials want to hit the ground running. Sticking them in an office and paying them to fill out forms and wait on things is a fast way to turn a good hire bad. They will feel you are wasting their time. You also don’t want to be put in a sink or swim situation either. Day 1 should be about connecting them to your mission. Make them feel like they belong, and build the foundation for continuous learning. A good hire will respect what you bring to the table, and they want you to respect what they bring to the table. Give them work they’re fired up to do, and have someone take the time to train them.

Millennials are more than just the latest generation entering the workforce; they are the future of your company. Part of setting them up to succeed is teaching them:
• how to shine in presentations and meetings
• how to deal with big shots.
• the basics of customer service. One of our first growing employee assignments is to have them read a great book on customer service called, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless.
• show them how to set priorities and eliminate time wasters
• even how to use a checklist.

You’ll need to understand how to communicate with them, and show them how to take control of their destiny. Be that allowing them to develop their own learning plan or showing them how to rack up points in your company’s points banking system.

Millennials may be the most high maintenance workforce in history, but if managed correctly, they will also be the most high performance workforce in history. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

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