Millennial Mythbusters Part III: Managing Millennials
As noted in our earlier two blogs about Millennials, STM completes comprehensive assessments on job candidates every day, and many of these candidates are Millennials. There are lots of myths floating around about managing them, and it’s critical that you as the owner or senior manager understand Millennials. They will soon be running your company, and you need to be certain you’re leaving the company in good hands.
The central conclusion we’ve come to about managing Millennial employees is that everything we’ve learned over the years about the value of teamwork, work-life balance, being a coach rather than a “boss”, and focusing on development and growth is doubly true for Millennials. For those of us who came up through the business ranks in an earlier time these were fairly radical ideas and, from our vantage point working with 100s of different companies, ideas that have not been universally adopted.
You should attract and hire people that fit your culture, but if you are to successfully hand off management and eventually leadership of your company to Millennials, you may need to modify your culture. The key to this is changing your day-to-day management priorities.
We recommend weekly interactions with every employee that cover production and technical issues, but also behavior change and soft skills issues. A client who just hired a Millennial reported that his new employee was interested in learning more about his STM assessment because he wanted to improve. The response should be immediate and consistent: provide that information and work with him on a weekly basis, keeping him focused on key things he needs to do to achieve both personal and company goals. Don’t wait for an annual or other formal review to do this!
The issue is time. You’re already doing the math, six direct reports x 30 to 60 minutes per week is another three to six hours per week at the office. At the beginning, probably, but stop counting the minutes and look at the long-term. A typical Millennial is highly relationship focused, which is great, but they may need your guidance dealing with difficult customers, employees, or vendors. If you take the time to teach, mentor, and show them how to be both relationship and results focused during regular weekly meetings, their productivity will go up, errors will go down, and, with their greater understanding, may introduce new tools and techniques to keep the team focused. This return on the investment of your time will improve the bottom line, and you will more quickly prepare your Millennial employee to manage and lead.
What we’ve described above is often disregarded as hand-holding—our response, education is expensive and time consuming, but ignorance is more expensive and more time consuming.
We have lots of other ideas and plan to make some of them the subject of future blogs. In the meantime, we hope this article starts the internal discussion at your company about how attract and retain good solid Millennial employees. They represent your future, so it’s critical that you find a way! Please reach out with your ideas and questions.
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