So much is written about Millennials. There's good reason for it. They are a big generation. They now outnumber Baby Boomers. In today's world, in large part because of technology and gifts in how we work, they are also in positions of power.
More than likely, if you're an executive, you have a team of Millennials working for your organization. It makes sense. Every new generation of worker goes into the work as the next shiny new thing. People in positions of power assume that they have energy, understand how to work (especially with technology and social media) and are creative.
On the flip side of the coin, Millennials are perceived as entitled. There's a perception that they do not believe they have to pay their dues. Much is written about how this particular generation believes just for the mere fact that they exist, they should be in positions of increased responsibility (eg management).
In my mind, I think it's great to have Millennials on board. But, I think there has always been a balance between experience and that natural energy found in youth.
I'll be honest with you. I do not think Millennials are much different from any other generation. Sure they might have a slight edge on technology, but I think they have the same needs and wants that other generations have had. After all, we're all people. Human nature does not change all that much. There are only subtal nuances, I think, from one generation to the next depending on the time when they came of age.
Millennials care about social good. They live in a world that possesses all the knowledge and resources to fundamentally improve humanity. Millennials know it. They want to align social good with business.
If you have a team of Millennials working for you, it's important to know some things about this generation so you can keep them motivated.
- Millennials want to link their work to the greater good. They care deeply about the world and social impact. Other generations may have seen their jobs as a means to an end. This generation view their jobs in the context of broader social good. Be clear about your vision in that respect.
- Millennials are more aware of team environments. Remember, this is the generation where everyone was given an award at school. They prefer environments that are much more team oriented.
- Millennials prefer creative environments with more autonomy. They want managers to trust they can do the job. They want to be praised for doing a good job. Give them some room to get the job done for you – and done well.
- Millennials want frequent feedback. They want to know from you how to improve at their jobs. They want to hear when they've done a good job. If they can do something better, they want concrete and constructive suggestions.
- Millennials are excited by technology. Remember, this is the first generation that grew up completely with technology. They see technology as something they can and should relate with every day. Many companies encourage their employees to use their personal social networking to promote their organizations. Millennials are comfortable doing this. They want to use social media, chats and instant messaging, and videos (increasingly live-streaming) at work.
- Millennials care about relationships. They are less interested in hierarchy. They do not appreciate or like barriers. They want access and team. Make sure the walls are few, both literally and figuratively, between Millennials and all supervisors and executives.
- Millennials care very much about work-life balance. This is actually a core value for them. Promote flexible work schedules in terms of work hours and even opportunities to work from home.