What do millennials want from their leaders?
The world over, many leaders seem to be worrying about how they can be effectively managing millennials in the workplace. It’s natural that a generational divide between managers and their employees might spark some misunderstandings or awkward moments but, with 75% of the workforce expected to be made up of millennials by 2025, leaders of organisations cannot afford to overlook the current generation or let their fear of bridging the gap get in the way of creating a cohesive team.
First, a quick definition: while many people have conflicting ideas, millennials are generally considered to be those who are born between the broad margins of 1979 and 1999. That’s right, the more ‘senior’ millennials are about to hit 40 years old, while others are only hitting their twenties. Millennials are less of a mystery than you might think because it’s likely you’ve been leading them and working alongside them for many years.
So, what are the big things that leaders need to know about their millennial employees?
A connected, flexible and adaptable generation
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the Internet and it shows. Far from their reputation as a generation that cannot concentrate on one thing for too long, they are laser-focused on details and always on top of the latest news, ready for whatever is next. This makes them invaluable in your team.
With new technologies being developed all the time, millennials are often the earliest adopters but this does not mean they always feel ready, even if their experience says otherwise. A study by Deloitte in 2018 found that many millennials were optimistic about the future of Industry 4.0 – filled with automation and Artificial Intelligence – but 49% felt that they were under-prepared for that future. They are looking to their leaders and managers to guide them into new ways of working and yet, only 36% of millennials said that their leaders were actually doing this.
The takeaway? Millennials are tech-savvy but they still want the wisdom of their leaders to help them as everyone adapts to the future.
Disloyal? Myth Busted.
The average job tenure in the U.S Workforce for 1983 was 3.5 years. Naturally, that statistic has had its ups and downs in the time since but by 2016 – when many millennials had entered into the workforce – the average tenure had risen to 4.2 years.
The fact is that millennials are just like any other generation – they want to be engaged effectively by their organisation and, if they are, they will stay for just as long or even longer than any Baby Boomer. Of course, the difference is what makes them engaged – millennials have the power to shop around via the Internet and choose organisations that align with their values and get information from other millennials on who is good to work for. A huge number of millennials believe that business leaders are having a positive impact on the world so a leader’s goal should be to find millennials who have values that align with your organisation’s and focus on engaging them for the long-term.
Takeaway? Millennials are choosier about who they want to work for but if you engage them effectively, they’ll stay.
Give feedback early and often
According to Gallup only 19% of millennials get routine feedback and only 21% meet with their manager on a weekly basis. Gallup also found engagement to be higher amongst those who met with their manager at least once per week so, with numbers as low as this, it’s easy to see that many millennials might be so disengaged that they would tend to job-hop.
Millennials are unlikely to ask for the feedback that they crave, however, so it’s important for managers to be taking the initiative and giving feedback to their millennial employees often in order to effectively engage them.
Takeaway? Millennials won’t ask for feedback but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it.
Every generation has their differences but it’s paramount that managers figure out what they need in order to engage them and get the very best out of them. Millennials are no different.
Are you ready to engage your millennial team members? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.