Do you have Millennial Madness?
“Young people these days just do not know how to work.”
“They lack grit!”
“They are always in their phone.”
And it makes you mad that you are put in a position of needing to keep these kids employed because if you let them go, you’d have to hire some other numbskull who was just like them – only you’d have to start over with training.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Why do we say our best employees are Millennials?
I’ve managed employees from all the generations that are currently in the workforce – the “Greatest Generation”, Baby Boomers, X-ers and Millennials. By far and away, my most productive, happy, engaged and consistent employees are Millennials.
After you read this, you won’t be.
I have never had reservations about hiring and working with Millennials. I know how to get great work out of them. I know how to manage them to maximize what they bring to the table.
They said all the same things about us when we were young.
They said Gen-Xers were lazy.
If you’re in your prime Gen-X days, ask yourself – are you or were you lazy?
Didn’t think so.
Neither are Millennials.
They work hard in different ways.
Just like we did when we were young.
Just like Boomers did when they were young.
Each generation needs to redefine what work means and what play means.
It’s not good or bad, it’s just different.
If you’re not satisfied with the results you’re getting, have a frank conversation.
It’s as easy as that.
Then you’ll have their energy.
Let them work differently.
The “always connected world” is one they are native to.
They don’t struggle with technology.
Checking texts, projects and email is natural to them.
So what if all the work doesn’t get done from 9-5?
As long as it gets done on time, don’t worry so much about when it gets done.
If it’s not getting done, have a frank conversation.
Then you’ll have their attention.
They switch jobs as often as we did when we were young.
I hear criticisms of young career people that berate them for switching jobs constantly.
I cry foul.
I switched jobs all the time when I was in my 20’s.
I struggled to figure out what I wanted to be.
I crushed it along multiple paths before I really got it figured out.
You probably did, too.
Give them a break.
Give them an opportunity.
Let them grow.
Let them go gracefully.
Give someone who hasn’t had more than 18 months at any job a chance.
Maybe your W-2 is the one they’ve been searching for their whole lives.
Then you’ll have their dedication.
If your millennials are always on their phone, there is a good reason.
Maybe that reason is that the tasks you’re giving them to do are not engaging.
Did you include the “why” part of the task you’ve given them?
Millennials need to sense a connection to the larger mission.
Each task feeds your organization’s mission in some way.
Make that clear, and you’ll have their attention.
Maybe the reason is that they’ve already completed what you gave them.
They are kings and queens of Zapier, If This Then That and other things that make magic happen.
Let them automate, then give them more to do.
Maybe they manage your social media.
For them, it happens more naturally on their phones.
Because mom and dad got them a phone, not a computer.
So let them operate in their zone of genius.
And if you sense too much Snapchat or Instagram going on, have a frank conversation – but be ready for them to be just as frank with you.
So short circuit that by simply asking them if they are engaged in their work.
And respond with action.
Then you’ll have their loyalty.
Training young employees is critical to their job satisfaction.
They are natural learners, especially about technology.
Let’s face it, more has changed in their lifetime than in the previous 100 years.
Professional development that is tied to the mission of the organization provides them a way to stay connected to the mission, serve your bottom line and beef up their sense of self as a professional.
If you’re looking for a more dedicated millennial, train them in something crucial to the mission of your organization.
Let them know how vital their service is to your organization’s success.