The holidays are fast approaching, which means there’s yet another excuse for employees to zone out at work, either daydreaming about their upcoming vacation or mentally planning their family gatherings. This is probably true for all of your employees, regardless of age, at this point in the year. But what’s causing your Millennial employees to disengage during the other of the months?
Millennials are notoriously different from their Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors, especially in the workplace. They bring different skills, expectations, and attitudes to the table, and if older generations aren’t prepared or don’t adapt, they could be setting themselves up for major workplace conflicts.
Forbes warns against these four actions if you want to make the most of your Millennial employees’ talents and skills, and make sure they stay with your company!
- Providing too much structure and not enough flexibility.Millennials value personalization in everything, including their workplace and work style. While there will certainly be some non-negotiable aspects of their jobs, it’s important to realize that Millennials like to innovate. If they know that their opinions are valued and that they have input into how they complete tasks, they’ll be happier and more satisfied overall.
- Supervising instead of coaching. Millennials respond far better to coaching techniques than to plain old authority. Baby Boomer and even Gen X managers may take for granted that their position of power will not be questioned, but Millennials may not necessarily agree with that status quo. Millennials tend to challenge commonly-held ideas. This shouldn’t be taken as a sign of disrespect. Rather, listen to their opinions and try coaching them instead of telling them how to do things.
- Resting on weak communication. Research shows that Millennials want and like feedback, but can be reluctant to ask for it. Having a meaningful conversation every once a month with your Millennial employees about what they’re doing well and what they need to improve upon can give them the boost they need at work. Even better: quick weekly check-ins to make sure they’re on the right track.
- Falling into routines because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Younger Millennial employees are energetic and excited to show you their new ideas. If their ideas are shot down right away, they’ll get frustrated and disengaged. Instead, listen to their ideas and see how you can incorporate them into your daily operations. You don’t have to up end everything that’s already working – far from it – but rather encourage them to innovate and explore new processes that might rejuvenate the workplace.
Enacting these small changes can make a huge difference in your Millennial workforce, and likely your company as a whole. Understanding Millennials’ skillset and attitudes is the first step to bridging generational gaps in the workplace, and one step closer to tapping into the true power of each generation.
Do you work in an office with two or more generations? Share your experiences on Twitter at @WhatTheGen or @JasonDorsey, and don’t forget to add your #generation!