Millennials.   Generation Me.  Individuals born in the 80’s and 90’s whose attitude and approach to life was shaped by a world moving into the digital age.   There’s a lot of stereotypes about how challenging it is to manage Millennials.  But are the complaints really true, or is it that a “one size fits all” approach is being used for a diverse workforce?

Here’s some tips from the Society for Human Resource Management on what you can do to get the most out of Millenials.  Remember, all workers have strengths that will be invaluable to the business, you just need to understand where they are coming from so that you can harness their power!

Train leaders to direct staff by telling stories on their experiences, rather than giving commands

Millenials are not referred to as the PlayStation generation for nothing. They grew up playing a lot of video games that came with little or no instructions. So they learned to make it to the next level by “dying” over and over again. They can be like that in their professional careers, too. They throw themselves into new experiences without a lot of planning, and they learn by failing repeatedly until they succeed.

They expect a leader to play the same role as the walls and cliffs in their video games. Leaders should be aware of this and help point out the potential pitfalls of certain courses of action, both before and after tasks are completed.

Communicate in various ways rather than always delivering messages in a single, linear format

For most of their lives, Millennials have been getting their information online and through mobile devices, focusing on one subject one minute and something completely different the next. Previous generations learned in a more linear way, such as by reading books from start to finish.

The good news for leaders is that Millennials are coming to the workforce prepared for complexity. They don’t know anything else. Older managers may have a hard time adapting to the new normal.

Build their engagement and loyalty around the principles of your company, not the persons at the head

Millennials appreciate personal development. They love new opportunities. But they will not follow your lead just because you are the boss.

Instead of trying too hard to get Millennials to be loyal to your leadership or organization, focus on developing and communicating the principles and purpose behind your organization’s work. Millennials need to know that they are working to make the world a better place. They believe that there is no success without sustainability for individuals, organizations, society and the environment. If you can convince them in an authentic way that what you are doing is principled, they will get behind you.

Recognise changing assumptions about privacy, boundaries and roles

This can be good and bad. On the one hand, we have all heard horror stories of young adults suffering the consequences for what they post on social media, like that friend of a friend who got fired for calling their boss a jerk on Facebook. On the other hand, not submitting to antiquated hierarchical structures allows Millennials to think creatively and find business opportunities where others might not imagine there were any.

While leaders should watch out for unintended consequences, they should also encourage younger employees to think beyond the established way of doing things.

Communicate the significance of repetitive tasks and the contribution that performing them makes

To develop expertise and wisdom in any industry, people must invest in non-glamorous grunt work. These experiences also help build character and patience. Millennials aren’t so fond of this type of work.

Today’s senior managers should put in the extra effort to show these employees why the hard work is important. Make sure entry-level talent know that having a deep understanding of the different aspects of an industry will help them in more-senior roles later.

By and large, organizations have been good at getting Millennials in the door, but they have had a harder time retaining them and helping them transition to higher levels of responsibility. If senior managers follow the above advice, they can tap into Millennials’ strengths and sense of loyalty—and help them to become the next generation of leaders.

Want to know more about how to manage the different generations?  Want to develop your expertise in HRM by getting the SHRM-SCP (the world’s #1 professional HRM qualification) or an internationally-recognised certificate in HRM?  Call Sean or Phoebe NOW at 908-4810 and register for a HRM course that can take your career to the next level!