How Millennials Can Help You Build a Better, Stronger Company
[Part 2 in an ongoing series about millennials in the workplace. See part 1, which outlines "The Top 5 Things Millennials Want from You"]
According to a 2015 Gallup survey, more than two-thirds of Millennials believe it's management's job to provide accelerated development opportunities to encourage them to stay. Other surveys show that the average employment span for a typical millennial is just two years, which would indicate that many companies aren't getting the message.
What do millennials want from a manager?
The millennials we interviewed were unanimous in concluding that they want clear goals, well-defined job requirements, the freedom and flexibility to achieve their goals, and opportunities for growth.
Clear goals and job requirements:
Millennials work well within the framework of a system and will be more motivated to work for a manager that provides clear goals. Hazy goals, unclear job requirements, and limited support to do their jobs can make millennials feel bored and under-appreciated. They will leave for greener pastures and are less likely to put energy into the job during their brief tenure.
What to do: provide clear job descriptions with three to five measurable things for which they are accountable; establish annual goals.
Freedom and flexibility:
Millennials want to put their unique spin on a job, offer ways to do the job better, and help co-workers. This might include flexible work hours, using a variety of communication methods (text, email, face-to-face, etc.), and the ability to talk with people outside their immediate job sphere. They want to be trusted to do their jobs and cite micro-management as the style they hate most.
Although counter-intuitive to the concept of freedom, individuality, and flexibility, millennials work quite well in teams, again when not micro-managed. They will work toward the greater good of the group.
What to do: communicate often with clear feedback to keep them on track and solicit their input on how they can improve in their jobs. Provide the resources and tools they need, set clear goals, and trust them to achieve the goals without micro-managing.
Opportunities for growth:
If you want to build a better, stronger, more vibrant and healthy company with millennials as your backbone, then give them opportunities for growth. One millennial who works in marketing at a nonprofit providing health services in impoverished countries is beside herself because she'll be headed into the field to work alongside the medical teams. Another millennial working for just over minimum wage has jumped at the chance to provide feedback on how to improve the operations of the company.
While Baby Boomers might get overwhelmed by the bombardment of information, millennials thrive in this environment. They are more likely to get bored if not challenged. They want to learn, expand, and grow.
And… millennials will give back ten-fold to the manager and company that provides these opportunities for growth.
What to do: offer opportunities for cross-training; establish stretch goals and provide the training, tools, and resources that will encourage their continued growth.