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Managing a team of millennials? The top 5 things you must know

Managing a team of millennials

The millennial generation is the biggest cohort that has ever existed. Here are the top five research-driven insights to help you manage retain millennials.

You are the hybrids of golden worlds and ages splendidly conceived.

It’s no secret.

Employees who feel appreciated and welcome at work are more likely to be engaged, creative members of teams.

As a manager, you have to know what each demographic in your team cares about, so that you can deliver an employee experience that encourages collaboration and communication.

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“Millennials have a drastically different outlook on what they expect from their employment experience,” writes researcher Jay Gilbert.

Having grown up in a period of rapid change, millennials have come of age during a time of significant technological advancement and have a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations.

The millennial generation is the biggest cohort that has ever existed.

Many of the perceptions about millennials at work emerge from stereotypes, while others are myths. Understanding the difference is really important.

Here are the top 5 research-driven insights that should help you retain a highly engaged millennial workforce:

Millennials have unique qualities

They’re taking over the workplace in droves.

The values of millennials differ from those of their parents and grandparents, members of the Generation X and Baby Boomers.

They may have a reputation as being fun-loving thrill seekers, but their generational qualities can actually lend a great deal of positive attributes to many workplace teams.

Millennials are known to be:

  • Passionate about their interests
  • Not afraid to take risks
  • Able to prioritize a positive work-life balance
  • Mission and values-oriented
  • Spontaneous
  • Global thinkers and cross-cultural communicators

Millennials’ love for new experiences and cross-cultural relationships can enhance a company's mission to go global, while their love for disruptive ideas and challenges can result in disruptive product development.

They're motivated

Millennials aren't shy about their desire for growth—this generation is actively in search of challenging new career opportunities and chances to learn at work.

Forbes writes that millennials prefer two-way relationships with their managers, comparing the millennial's ideal direct manager as more of a ‘coach’ than a boss.

This means that millennials often aren't shy about sharing ideas on opportunities for improvement or asking for new challenges when they're feeling bored.

They prefer positive feedback

Millennials are notoriously sensitive to feedback and may perceive constructive criticism as an attack.

Researcher Joanne Sujanski believes any feedback regarding improvement that is given to millennials needs to be very carefully phrased to avoid potential misunderstandings.

Millennials may be growing up

As the oldest millennials approach their mid-thirties, certain workplace values appear to be not entirely different from older generations.

A recent study indicates that older millennials are concerned about health care costs when making decisions about whether to stay with an employer.

While certain millennial values, like a strong focus on company culture, remain the same, this generation is becoming more focused on the quality of the work itself as they age.

They have no tolerance for bad tech

Though no one likes aging legacy software, millennials grew up with internet-based technologies and have a particularly low tolerance for confusing technical processes.

Wired writes that millennials loathe spending time searching for documents, searching for the right point-of-contact for a task, and trying to find their coworkers' contact info.

Millennials prefer lighter-weight team communication apps, such as team messengers, to act as a workplace companion.

Conclusion: Manage millennials well

As managers look toward the future of the workplace, understanding millennial traits is important to a highly engaged workplace.

With an understanding of millennial values and tech preferences, it's possible to keep your younger employees happy.

Leadership, Team Management