The face of the American workforce is getting younger. Millennials—born in the last quarter of the 20th Century—now comprise more than one-third of working-age people in the U.S.This generation cut their teeth on rapidly-advancing technology, financial prosperity, immediate gratification, and multi-culturalism.
Here are the top 10 things you must know about managing Generation Y employees:
- They expect flexibility. They work anywhere and everywhere, and almost 70 percent of Millennials don’t place value on a traditional workday in the office.
- They require constant reinforcement. Raised in the age of “helicopter parents,” they’ve been conditioned to thrive on accolades and participation trophies.
- They are loyal to themselves. Millennials have no desire to continue working for a company that doesn’t meet their needs. As many as 44 percent of them are looking to make a career move this year or next.
- They crave structure and balance. More specifically, they want to know what bosses expect and exactly how to deliver it.
- They are risk-averse. This is not the generation of snowboarders and rock-climbers you might have envisioned. Risk is a four-letter word to most Millennials.
- They are skeptics. Marketing to this generation is tricky because they don’t trust advertising or traditional media. They put more faith in peer reviews and blogs, and are slow to warm-up to others in a team environment.
- They stress about their financial future. A recent study revealed that more than 80 percent of workers under age 30 believe they’ll be worse off than their parents by the time they reach retirement.
- They value family. They want to start a family while also having a rewarding career.
- They require work/life balance. Don’t expect them to sacrifice personal time with family and friends to burn the midnight oil on a project. They need socialization and a personal life.
- They are adaptable and learn quickly. This especially applies to advances in technology.
The Key: Output-Driven Management
Working with Gen Y employees requires a sea change in management styles. Nearly three-quarters of global businesses report increased productivity among millennials when management focuses on an output-driven approach. This is a shift from the days of requiring an 8-hour workday where employees clock in and out. Instead, output-driven managers assess employee performance by measuring what the team member delivers while allowing for flexible scheduling. Here are a few tips to make that shift to output management:
- Provide the employee a clearly outlined example of the desired output.
- Provide consistent communication and deadlines.
- Provide consistent and encouraging feedback, using high-tech team collaboration tools when possible.
- Establish regularly recurring team meetings in real-time to keep employees connected to the team and provide “in-person” (online or offline) feedback.
Managing Millennials requires time and attention. Invest in Generation Y, and you’ll find that this massive group of natural-born entrepreneurs could provide your company with the fresh perspective you’ve been missing.