Six Ways to Get More From Your Millennial Staff
Millennials make up around a quarter of the population of the UK – ‘millennial’ it is the name given to the generation born roughly from the early 1980s to around the year 2000. This is a generation that were exposed to a changing digital world as they were growing up but were unlucky enough to have a global recession occur at the point that many of them were about to join the workforce. For this reason, some millennials have found it more difficult than other generations to succeed. But this is a generation with a lot to offer and they shouldn’t ever be written off. Here are six great ways to get more from your millennial staff.
Allow them to progress
Millennials are sometimes referred to as the ‘Peter Pan generation’ in the sense that they have put off some of the common adult milestones such as moving forward with a career or buying a property. However, it’s important to recognise that for most millennials, they are not doing this on purpose. Having come into the employment market during the financial crisis, millennials have had substantially fewer opportunities and less chance to do these things. That means that now millennials feel that they are behind where they ‘should be’ in terms of life goals and achievements. But that doesn’t mean that they are any less ambitious than the generations they follow.
One of the best ways to motivate millennials, then, is to provide them with the chance to progress into better paid positions with more responsibility. Doing so is a huge personal boost and can really give them a reason to give their all at work for an employer or manager that believes in them.
Offer flexible working arrangements
Many millennials prefer the idea of flexible working arrangements – this gives them the chance to work around a schedule that works for them. This won’t be possible in every work place, of course, but if there is no specific reason why an employee has to be at the office 9 to 5:30 from Monday to Friday, it could be very valuable to allow them a little more freedom with their working time. Options such as working at home or putting in longer shifts into the evening can sometimes be very attractive to millennials if they are not early risers.
Provide them with time for personal development
Perhaps because of the aforementioned lack of opportunities in the workplace, some millennials have found passions elsewhere. This could be anything from personal creative projects to extended periods of travelling. It can be prudent to allow millennials extra flexibility with their time off or the chance to take work sabbaticals before returning to their position. Once again, this becomes a motivating factor as the will be grateful to employers who have afforded them the option to get on with some of the things they like to do.
Take their creativity seriously
Allow millennials the chance to contribute ideas to the business. Many millennial workers have plenty of untapped creativity and this can be very valuable. That means it’s a very good idea to use this to your advantage in two ways. Firstly, you’ll benefit from interesting ideas that other employees may not have thought of, but perhaps more importantly, you will be empowering your employee and showing them that their opinions and ideas are valued by the company. When an employee feels that they are able to have an input on processes or suggest ideas for the ways that tasks should be completed, it gives them a personal stake within the project itself.
Focus on constructive criticism
Millennials are unusual as workers in the sense that they actually desire feedback far more than previous generations. In the past there has been a tendency for employees to think of meetings as a time where their manager or HR department will criticise them. On the other hand millennials, who have grown up with an immediate-access digital environment are used to being able to get their questions answered and get feedback from peers, this means that they crave regular communication with employers to help them understand their position and how they are doing.
This means that employers need to find a way to treat millennials differently from workers from different generations as otherwise millennials can feel cut off. If you have feedback meetings twice a year, try increasing that to quarterly with millennial employees.
Provide in-between job titles
As we discussed earlier – millennials work best when they see themselves progressing. This can be a problem in some companies as there may be a very simple power structure with little more than two tiers of workers and managers. Millennials appreciate it when they can see themselves moving forwards, so it can be worth looking into the prospect of different levels of workers including ‘senior’ positions, ‘supervisors’ and other titles that provide a sense of progression upwards in the company. While these positions may have little functional difference between the roles it can create an atmosphere where the millennial staff member feels valued without having to make any drastic changes.
Bio: Lloyd Wells, independent content writer, graphic designer and former employee-training specialist in the marketing sector. Collaborating with staff management software company Planday for this post.