Leading Millennials: Advice from an Executive Coach
There’s a lot of debate out there about whether or not millennials are worth hiring or just a group of lazy kids who expect to have things handed to them. Hiring the next generation of young leaders is a fantastic move for any business. I believe that when you fully understand what they need and want, there is an amazing opportunity to shape your business for future growth and profitability.
Compared to more seasoned workers, millennials have more diversified strengths and add significant value to businesses. Also, studies show that millennials are motivated by more than just money: they’re loyal (if treated well), they’re more fully invested in the success of the companies they work for, and they long to lead and progress within their work cultures.
So how do you effectively lead Millennial workers? Here are five tips.
1. Provide specific, intentional, and helpful feedback.
Millennial workers need and want balanced and frequent performance feedback – both constructive and positive. According to a survey by Gallup, 40% of workers are “actively disengaged” when they receive little or no feedback.
To lead millennial workers, you must communicate with them regularly as well as help them identify their strengths and the areas where they need to make improvements.
2. Be prepared to offer more flexibility than you ever have.
This may seem counterproductive or even crazy, but the opposite is true. These days, “nontraditional” jobs are ruling the market and the organizations that offer less rigidity are your competitors for talent.
Millennials often suffer from a healthy dose of wanderlust – they want to see the world and experience it firsthand. Moreover, they want jobs that will allow this flexibility and are leaving corporate America in search of such opportunities.
And it’s not just travel that is relevant to millennials when it comes to working: they want flexibility in their working hours and the types of jobs they do within an organization.
The age of the Internet has made it possible for work to be done from almost anywhere without making painful sacrifices. In fact, thanks to advanced technology, your workers, and your business can run more efficiently than ever before.
Consider creating positions that will allow your team to work from anywhere. Be open to suggestions for improving work-life balance. Millennials are becoming masters at working virtually, and if given the right cues and opportunities, they’ll help you find ways to make process and efficiency improvements throughout your entire business.
3. Mix things up.
Millennial workers need and want varied experiences. They prefer non-routine work instead of completing the same routine responsibilities day after day.
Effectively leading millennials means offering ample opportunities to try new things, learn additional skills, and work with different groups of people. Millennial workers are eager to meet others and improve their skillset. They have a strong desire to help the team succeed, not just themselves.
4. Redefine the path to promotion.
Millennials want to have a scorecard and a more defined and faster path to the next promotion or experience.
Millennials are willing to work hard to reach the next rung in the corporate ladder, possibly to their detriment. However, if they don’t have a clear outline of what tasks, successes, or improvements will get them to that next position, they may feel like they’re working in the dark or simply working hard and going nowhere, leading them to start searching for new opportunities.
Lay out a specific map for your millennial workers, so they know what your expectations are, what diverse areas they’re eligible to move into, and how long it will take them to make those leaps.
5. Tune up your workplace culture
This group of future stars responds very positively to enlightened managers and leaders that make them feel connected to your company. When you hone a work environment that is fun, energized, less rigid, and has a bigger vision in the marketplace and world, you will see your team flower.
I encourage you to let them have a voice in decision-making. The return on your patient investment in inclusion will be rewarded with inspired colleagues and loyalty.
Leading Millennials can be a challenge, but it’s certainly a rewarding experience for both you as an executive and your younger team members. Don’t listen to the adverse opinions in the news and from your friends – start looking for new talent and give your business an unexpected edge.
If you want to learn more about attracting and retaining millennial employees, just Sign up for a complimentary one-hour coaching session with me.