Thought Gen X was tough to manage and motivate? Well, what about Generation Y, otherwise known as the Millennials? Those born between the early 80s and the early noughties fall into this category. They are now well and truly a part of the workforce and present a whole different array of opportunities and challenges.
They can be full of contradictions and while they question authority and hierarchy, they also need and desire constant feedback and recognition. More importantly, they have very little patience; they want to be promoted, now.
How to keep them and make them work for you …
They have little tolerance for the “what” unless they understand “why”. The task is important. Without knowing the effect of what they are being asked to do, however, they won’t do it.
Make sure you give them plenty of feedback, whether positive or constructive, more than you might give to the rest of your workforce. You need to keep their focus.
Offer praise for what they’re doing and tell them why it’s been of value, both privately and in public. This will help to keep them motivated.
When it comes to projects, make sure you constantly stretch and develop their talents. What’s good for them is also good for you. Variety is the name of the game and working alongside more experienced colleagues will ensure depth and breadth of experience.
Help to develop their resilience. You may have the experience to know that it’s not the end of the world if a project you’ve worked on gets put on the back burner, after months of effort. They may not. Picking themselves up again and putting 100% in on another project may seem hard but it will help to build their leadership qualities.
Offer them flexibility. Research shows that Millennials see the scope for flexibility as one of the most important criteria when choosing an employer.
Think about what “reward” really means to them. It could surprise you; it’s not just about money.
Think about how you might help them to develop their CVs. Generation Y is mobile and will move jobs quickly in order to learn more if they think you’re not offering them the right development opportunities.
By providing as many opportunities as possible you are creating lifelong advocates for you and your business. They may not always be your employees but they could be one of your future clients.