Millennials! Nurturing the Next Generation
Everywhere we go as consultants, we hear “millennials!” usually with multiple exclamation points. Frustration about them is a common refrain. Our advice is usually to “take a breath” and find ways to work with and develop this talented group of workers. You really have no choice.
Millennials are that generation born between 1980 and 1996. The group that seems to have the greatest consternation about millennials is the Baby Boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964.
Today millennials comprise the largest generation of workers in the workplace. They are “digital natives,” having grown up with smartphones as part of the natural order. They are also the most well educated and travelled cohort in American history.
What millennials have in abundance is energy, tech savvy, and smarts. They want to contribute to an organization they believe in and they want to grow professionally. And they want some measure of work-life balance. What they typically lack is the judgment that comes with age. Judgment comes with having had a few missteps and mistakes along the way. For the manager, that requires some patience and perhaps more importantly seeing yourself as a steward of the next generation.
A good rule of thumb to help positively shift mindsets and the conversation is to treat millennials as you would want a manager of your children, niece or nephew, or grandkids to manage them. As managers, it’s not just about getting the job done; it’s about preparing the next generation. It’s a duty from one generation to the next.
What does that shift look like and entail for the manager? It involves good basic management with a dose of patience and commitment. It involves setting clear expectations, helping them learn the demands of the job and how to be good employees, and providing constructive feedback that helps them grow as professionals, as people, and as citizens.
In short, in managing a millennials, think about how you would want another adult to be managing one of your own kids and kin.