The media often likes to portray the younger generation as every conceivable shade of terrible. They’re lazy, they have no work ethic, and their unconventional consumer habits are killing off industries from diamonds to napkins. Needless to say, most of these claims are exaggerated, if not flat out false. In fact, millennials have a number of traits which can be beneficial in the workplace, helping both them and you to thrive.
Every millennial is a unique and special snowflake. Rather than being cogs
in a machine, they take pride in the things that make them stand out from everyone else. What this means for your company is that they’re not afraid to provide new perspectives, or take things in a new direction.
Companies can often get stuck in a single way of doing things. It’s always worked before, so why change? It may be difficult for the old guard to see that a particular approach isn’t working as well as it used to, or that there’s a better, more efficient way of doing things. But resisting change will kill your industry faster than any millennial. The younger generation tends not to accept things automatically, just because they’ve always been done a certain way.
If you listen to their ideas, they might be able to help you break out of a rut and improve productivity in surprising new ways.
Money isn’t the only thing driving millennials. They tend to have an increased social consciousness and a desire to make the world a better place. If you can tap into that desire, you can create tremendous employee loyalty.
Provide your employees with opportunities to donate their time and energy to worthy causes. Organize office food drives, partner with non-profit organizations for various volunteer opportunities, and even donate a portion of your company’s annual profits to charity. By showing that you care about the world and the community, you’ll inspire millennials to remain at your company for longer, reducing employee turnover.
The face of technology is constantly changing. From new software platforms that help you organize your work more effectively to new communications platforms to keep employees connected to new social platforms to promote your organization, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends. Otherwise, your company could lose its competitive edge and end up being left behind by your competitors.
This is where millennials can really benefit your company. They grew up on the Internet, and most of them have had some sort of smart mobile device for over a decade. This means they can easily adapt to technological changes within your company and have a much shorter learning curve. If you hire a millennial who’s particularly tech savvy, they might even be able to make recommendations for technological trends to adopt, to keep you on the cutting edge of your industry.
Millennials tend to work better in groups than individually. Many companies, rather than keeping them boxed up in cubicles, have open office plans that allow employees to talk and exchange ideas with one another freely over the course of the work day. This leads to enhanced problem solving and an increase in inter-departmental cooperation. Plus, encouraging communication can keep employees informed about what’s going on within your company, rather than making them feel like management is plotting against them behind their backs.
Your millennial employees have a natural desire to grow and improve in their positions. They thrive on feedback about their performance. There are a number of ways you can do this. Assign new employees a mentor to show them the ropes. You can also meet with them regularly to discuss their progress—not in a formal, performance review setting, but just checking in and touching base with them every week or two. Instead of just telling employees when they’re doing something wrong, show them how to do it better. Then encourage them when they improve. You’ll end up with a happier, more productive staff.
There’s no way to avoid hiring millennials in your company. They now make up a larger percentage of the workforce than any other generation. But if you understand what drives them, can meet them on their level, and create a working environment that they’ll be passionate about, millennials can be the best, most productive employees you’ve ever had.