By Rick Chrisman, CPA MST, Managing Shareholder of Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors and loving father of six Millenials!
I am always looking for training on topics that I think will help me to improve our firm. One topic that I found very beneficial was how to understand and manage the different generations in the workplace. Our workforce has been changing over the years. We needed to change how we recruit, retain and manage our employees. We made some changes and it has been paying off with less turnover and happier, more productive employees. Following are some of my thoughts on this topic.
The generation that is causing a lot of the change is the Millennials. The Millennials are individuals that were born between 1980 and 2000. They are a talented and dynamic group. Some are already in the workforce; and many more are on the way. As the Millennials get out of school and enter the workforce and the Boomers retire, the percentage of Millennials in the workforce will continue to increase. Their influence is growing and they are forcing organizations to change how they manage their people.
The Millennials view the world differently than their older coworkers. They were brought up differently. They have developed their characteristics from doting parents and living very structured lives. They are used to working in teams. They have a “can-do” attitude about completing tasks; and they like to get frequent positive feedback. They have a positive attitude and are confident in what they can do. They seek leadership from their older coworkers, but expect their coworkers to listen and respect their ideas. They like challenges and dislike anything boring. They are used to juggling many activities, so they want flexibility in their schedule and a good work/life balance.
If you want the best people from this generation in your business or organization, it will be necessary to understand and meet their particular needs and expectations. It might be necessary to alter your management style some and/or implement new company policies that will help to recruit and retain the Millennials.
Here are some tips:
• Be a coach – They want to look up to you. They want constant feedback on how they are doing. You need to allocate time for teaching and coaching them. They deserve and want you to invest your time in their personal development and success. This will make a huge difference in their overall loyalty to you and your business or organization.
• Encourage their “can-do” attitude – They can do anything, their parents told them so. Give them opportunities to prove it. Let them make their own decisions and do things their own way. Whether they succeed or fail, they will learn and grow from it. You might be surprised at what they can accomplish if you give them responsibilities and trust them to complete the task.
• Encourage a team effort – Millennials thrive when on a team. They believe working as a team will accomplish more and do the job better. Growing up, they experienced team success. As adults, they like to gather in groups and play on teams. Promote your organization as a winning team – and them as key players that are contributing to the team’s success.
• Listen to them – These young people have ideas and opinions. They want to be heard. Their loving parents always listened to them when they were kids. Allocate time to listening and staying connected with your people. Show them that their input and feedback will make a difference. Implement their ideas if you can.
• They like a challenge – Boring is bad. They like their work to be always changing and progressing in difficulty. They want to climb the next mountain. They like to feel they are growing professionally and are making a contribution to the business or organization. Give them a challenge.
• They are technology savvy – They have grown up with all kinds of electronic devices. Take advantage of the technology capabilities of these young people. There is a lot we can learn from them. They can get a message out fast if they want to, and they can get information fast when they need it.
• Provide them a good work/life balance – This generation values their personal lives. They want a flexible schedule so they can fit everything in. Millennials fill their lives with many activities. They play on sports teams, give time to charities, spend time with family and friends and take nice vacations. They are willing to work hard, but not if they have to make sacrifices in their personal lives.
• Mix in some fun – Millennials want to enjoy their work. They want to make friends at work. Plan activities that will give them opportunities to socialize with their coworkers. Create a culture where they look forward to coming to work. They want to have some fun and laugh a little.
• They can multi-task – They can talk on the phone, send emails, answer instant messages and eat their lunch all at the same time. This is their life. You can give them multiple tasks to complete, and they will figure out how to get it all done.
• Take advantage of their networking skills – they are comfortable with teams and group activities. They like to build their personal network, either face-to-face or electronically. They can help you build your business or organization if given the opportunity and direction.
Of course, you cannot stereotype an entire generation. Some employees will fit this description and some will not. But there are definite trends emerging in the workplace that are being initiated by the Millennials. A successful business or organization needs to be aware of these trends and evolve with the times.
To learn more about Rick Chrisman, view his profile HERE.