6 Mistakes To Avoid When Managing Millennials

By Scott Vollero

Who are these millennials and what are they doing in your workforce? We hear the term “millennials” all the time but do we really know who these people are? The ones currently joining your workforce were born between 1980 and 2000. They were raised by doting parents, in structured lives and surrounded by a diverse set of people. These millennials are accustomed to working in teams and they like making friends with the people they work with. They tend to work well with a diverse employee pool.

Millennials like feedback on how they’re performing—daily feedback, in some cases. They expect a variety of tasks and are confident they will be able to accomplish every one of them. They are confident and seek to take on leadership roles. They want to be challenged and definitely do not want to be bored.

These millennials want flexibility, including a flexible work schedule so they can build a life away from work. They are a connected bunch, interacting all over the world via email, through instant messages and text messages, and over the internet.

When working with millennials, there are specific adaptations you can make in the workplace to accommodate the unique nature of this group of employees. Effectively managing your millennials can ensure that you have a competent, trained workforce in your business at all times.

Provide structure

The bottom line is simple: Get your business practices organized. Reports need routine monthly due dates. Jobs should have relatively regular hours. Certain activities need to be done on a daily basis and should be scheduled that way. Got a meeting planned? Make sure the meeting has a stated agenda and minutes. Goals should be stated clearly, assignments should be well-defined, the factors that determine success should be delineated, and progress should be regularly assessed.

Give millennials guidance and show leadership

The millennials working for you want to look up to you and learn from you. They want your feedback, often on a daily basis. They want to be kept in the loop and feel like they are part of the whole picture. Know that you’ll need to spend a good deal of your time teaching and coaching them; make sure you understand this up front when you hire millennials. They expect your best investment in their success, and will give you their best in return.

Make use of the millennial attitude

Most millennials share a common self-assuredness and an “I can do this” attitude toward everything they attempt. Their personal self-image is almost always positive. Millennials feel they are ready to conquer the world—they were told by their parents that they could do it, and they believe they can. Don’t try to squash this attitude in them or contain their enthusiasm; doing so will not further your business goals.

Hear them out

Millennials grew up with loving parents whose worlds revolved around the schedules and activities of their children. These parents listened to what their children had to say. As a result, these young adults have their own ideas and opinions, and they do not like having their thoughts ignored. They expect you to listen to them and take them seriously, just as their parents did.

Let millennials multitask

Being required to do multiple tasks doesn’t phase millennials. They can carry on a phone conversation while checking email and juggling multiple instant messages, all at the same time. This is a normal way of life for millennials. If they find they don’t have a multitude of different tasks and separate goals to pursue each week, they could very easily become bored. And bored is not where you want your millennial employees to be.

Let them be tech-savvy

Millennials employees are electronically literate—they’re comfortable with computers, cellphones and social media. Take advantage of their knowledge for the betterment of your business. For example, you can capitalize on millennials’ affinity for networking. They aren’t just comfortable with teams and group activities; millennials actually enjoy electronically networking around the world. Because of their technology skills, millennials are sought-after employees, but understand that this skillset also lets them post their resumes to online job boards that are viewed by millions of employers. Millennials are loyal workers, but they will always keep their options open.