Managers everywhere are witnessing how the modern workplace is taken by storm by moody, problematic millennials and need to find ways to better integrate them and create a healthy work environment. So many of these millennials have been raised differently than their peers from previous generations were and come with a different set of expectations regarding their jobs, bosses and workplaces. To this end, they tend to need more attention, be more entitled and even more prone to partying and having a disruptive lifestyle. These are issues that, if left unaddressed, can create a dysfunctional workplace environment and lower productivity. Let’s look at what you can do, as a manager, to prevent this from happening:
1. Stop Micromanaging
Surprisingly enough, millennials have actually been pushed around their entire lives. They were raised by parents who made sure their kids’ skills were milked to the maximum, sending them off to dozens of tiresome classes and camps. It’s no wonder they hate being micromanaged in the workplace as well. They don’t like being told what to wear, when to show up, where they work and what to say. Although you may find that you can’t compromise on some of these issues, you’ll have a greater shot at working with a happier, more productive millennial if you show some degree of flexibility when it comes to work hours, dress code and work location. Another great way to close the gap between you and them is to let them decide on their own, enabling them to fail and get back on their tracks by taking full responsibility.
2. Become Their Leader, Not Their Boss
Most millennials feel undervalued at the workplace and consider that all their skills should be put to good use. While you should not change your entire management technique just to accommodate them, you need to act less like a boss and more like a leader. This means that you need to be able to recognize the potential in them and thus include them in a wide range of tasks. Apart from this, as a leader, you need to inspire them with your own vision, passion and determination to achieve goals. Having a leader they can believe in, millennials will most likely integrate faster with the team and better tap into their productive inner resources.
3. Talk to Them In Person
Let’s face it: Millenials need all the attention they can get, especially from management. They have a lot on their plate and they need to be heard. This is why it’s a great idea to set some time apart to have one-on-ones, sit them down and getting to know them. This is not something that only serves them. On the contrary, take this opportunity to understand the more difficult cases in your office: why they are constantly staying up late or showing up late, why they may be uncommunicative with the team and even why they tend to party and drink so much. Dan Manson, CEO of a Silicon Valley-based Treatment center, says that if you find employees behaving this way, you should gently encourage them to find professional help. Even though you may feel this surpasses your management attributions, your open talks together may serve as a natural anchor in their problematic lives and can be the push they need to become healthier individuals.
4. Give Feedback and Attention
As we said before, millennials are like walking magnets for attention. These are the employees that you will give a project to and that will immediately seek feedback on what was laudable and what needs improvement. As long as this is not done excessively, offering your employees feedback on their work has proven time and time again to be more conducive to a rise in productivity and efficiency in the long run. Giving feedback and including them in the decision-making process are small gestures that can go a long way for you and your company. You will thus gain more focused employees, that are more willing to give it their best because they know for certain they will be appreciated for their strengths.
Having said this, as a manager it’s best to leave behind the work ethic you started out with yourself and understand that millennials are a completely new generation, with different abilities and expectations. The sooner you understand how to tap into their potential and join forces with them, the sooner you will notice improvements within your developing company.