A case for Millennials! Part 1 – How do I work with them!

millennials

Millennials are getting a bad rap! Yes, some are bad, some are lazy, some are belligerent, but that could be said of any generation. Besides, the generation spans quite a few years. The older Millennials (such as myself) are very different from the younger new grads. We are however, different from our predecessors, and that will take some getting used to for older generations. What exactly is different about millennials in the workplace? How do companies work with them?

They aren’t loyal to a company anymore

Let me ask you this, are you loyal to us? No, you’re not. It’s not reasonable to expect that out of us. The economy has been pretty bad for over eight years now. The idea that one should find a good company and stay there for the duration of their career is not feasible. It’s also not a good career move either. The idea of sticking around for the pension benefits is not a selling point. Pensions are a line item on budget sheet, and owned by the company. If the company goes under so does the pension. This is why many now have their own 401k’s. They own those, not the company.

They want to grow, even if that means growing out of your company. (Fromm: Forbes )

This quote from Forbes is pretty spot on. Millennials know that they are in charge of their career, not their employer. With the layoffs and bad economy, who can afford to stay at a stagnant job? It’s competitive out there. Staying in a job or position that isn’t going anywhere ’cause it’s a job’ is harmful not helpful. If you want to keep your Millennial employees, you have to catch up with the times! Employees that want to grow are good for your business. It means that your company will grow too. If you, as a business owner, don’t get that, then you are pretty much a sinking ship already. You wouldn’t be the first though.

They are slackers

You will get some who are slackers. Vet them out, and hire the good ones. If your company is worth it’s salt and recruiting properly, you will have enough applicants to make good hires. Here’s the thing, Millennials just don’t want to waste their time, and they are more efficient with their time. If we can finish our work in 6 hours instead of 8, why do we need to hang around the office for 2 hours? How does sticking around for an extra 2 hours do any good? It’s not motivating. If you finish your work early, getting to go home and avoid traffic can be very motivating 🙂

Work smart? or work hard?

At my last job my predecessor was in the office for something like 12 hours a day. I was in there for 8 to 8.5 hours a day. So, does this make me the slacker? No, I just worked smarter, and more efficiently. I was able to easily learn the technology and work on things vital to the business such as marketing and getting occupancy up. I was motivated because I needed to pick my daughter up, and I needed to be with her in the evenings, not at work. My predecessor could not or would not do that.

Different values

During the baby boomer generation,the economy was doing well. It was entirely feasible to get that corner office if you put in the work, and you put in the time. During that economy people had more confidence in their work places, and wanted to get their pensions after their years of work. A reward for all the sacrifice they made. Values have changed, and we now have an unstable economy.  Generation X and Millennials both want more work life balance. We don’t want to be workaholics, in this economy it doesn’t pay off. However, we do work smart. We can get the work done faster and more efficiently since we are a more tech savvy generation. We have adapted our lifestyles to work smart, just ask any working parent 🙂 My source about baby boomers came from the balance.

Trophies, nurf gun fights, and happy hour

Being an older millennial, I did not get participation trophies. I still think this concept is stupid, and I will not allow my children to receive participation trophies. “Business know how” has a lot of great information about how to recruit, and understand millennials. One is providing a fun atmosphere, nurf gun fights, happy hours etc. I think you have to examine the industry before implementing nurf gun fights and happy hours, because it may not work with every industry. When my husband worked in the video games industry they did stuff like the nurf gun fights, trophies, happy hours etc. It worked really well with that industry. It helped them wind down especially if they were recovering from crunch time. Check out the business know how article here.

Not good for every industry

When I worked in retail, big car company tried to implement happy hours and nurf fights, and it wasn’t effective. People were exhausted after 11-12 hours of menial work with grouchy customers. The last thing they wanted to do was deal with happy hour. You show up and the food is all gone and you can have one beer. It wasn’t motivating, many wanted to go home. You couldn’t do nurf fights because it would look bad in front of customers. You were so mobile, you would just lose the trophy, or someone would steal it. For me, and many other older millennials, we could be motivated by time off.

Why do they need to know ‘why’?

Millennials always ask why, and ask a lot of questions. According to the muse, this is a common complaint among managers, I was kind of floored. Check out the article at the muse.

I’ve dealt with this indirectly before too. An employee wanted to know how things worked so she could advance, and her supervisor flat refused to tell her and found it ‘off’. If an employee is asking why, and wants to know how things work and your thought process, they likely want to grow! Not because they think they know everything! They want to grow with your company and they are engaged! Employee engagement is a big problem, according to gallup only 31.5% are fully engaged. Check it out here.Why would you complain when you have employees who are engaged!?! The problem is with management, not the employee. If you want a ‘yes man’ you will lose your good employees and gain disengaged robots. Good luck with that!

There is so much to write on this subject! I have to break it up. I do hope that this posts gives you more resources to work with millennials. We are a very big generation, and we are not only your employees but customers too. We are not all bad demanding entitled kids. Utilize our skills and see where we can take you!

 

 

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