Remember when wearing a business suit for a job interview was the professional thing to do? These days it’s just as likely the candidate has that “Wall Street” look just to cover up those tattoos. But what happens after the suit is shed and Mr. or Ms. Millennial shows up for work?
There are 2 basic managing rules. The number one rule, according to Bruce Tulgan (author of several books on managing the different generations), for managing Millennials, also know as Generation Y, is:
1. Gen Yers thrive on small goals with short deadlines. Remember, the attention span of Gen Y is short. They demand fast results. When you can’t deliver that, the next best thing leads us to Rule #2.
2. Break projects and tasks down into smaller pieces. Then break them down some more.
What are some other basic survival skills you might use to manage the new Millennials? Tulgan offers these suggestions:
3. Treat Millennials like value adders from day one, not as interns or “know-nothing kids.” They can’t stand condescending managers and executives who are not approachable when they need their questions answered. They want to feel like a colleague or associate, not a subordinate. Treating them respectfully, as you ask for respect in return, is key to a great relationship. (Here’s a strong suggestion: if you feel this advice is a bunch of hooey – then don’t hire anyone under 35!)
4. Be flexible. Customize schedules and work assignments. Since some Millennials are still in school or working two jobs or balancing family and work, they appreciate a manager’s attempts to balance work requirements with their other commitments.
5. Provide constructive feedback consistently and often. Don’t wait for performance evaluations to tell Millennials what they’re doing right or wrong. Tell them what they’re doing well today; tell them how to improve today. That’s what the best managers do: They observe and give immediate feedback.
6. Tie rewards and incentives to one thing only: performance. And make sure to deliver praise, recognition, and rewards in close proximity to the contribution.
7. Facilitate helping Millennials meet their high expectations of themselves. They want to make meaningful contributions immediately. This is an admirable goal, and it may take some investment of your time to teach them how to get there.
Good point when you say that these Generation Y’ers don’t like to be treated as interns or kids. Many managers today don’t know how to communicate with new hires without treating them like subordinates, and there’s a fine line that management must walk between treating their followers as equals (so as to gauge their best performance) while still maintaining a position of authority. PEOs offer management training courses that can help small businesses retain this new generation of employees and keep them satisfied as employees.
These are great suggestions for working with Millennials, but really they are good for any generation.