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How to manage millennials

How to Manage Millennials at Work | What CEOs Must Know

Millennials (born 1980 – 2000) are more educated and tech savvy than any other generation. We grew up with information at our fingertips. And by 2025 we will make up 75% of the workforce.

However, millennials are a flight risk. Our generation is the least engaged at work. More than 60% of millennials are open to finding new opportunities. A Gallup analysis showed that 47% of disengaged millennials will switch jobs within the next 12 months compared to 17% of those that are engaged in their work. Turnover is expensive, costing the US economy $30.5 billion each year.

Millennials seem to always be on the hunt for a new job. This is not because we don’t value security. In fact, financial security is very important to us. But so are our professional and personal values. 

Millennials are changing the way we work from

  • Paycheck to Purpose
  • Satisfaction to Development
  • Boss to Coach
  • Annual Review to Ongoing Conversations
  • Weaknesses to Strengths
  • Job to Life

CEOs must know how to manage millennials. This means adjusting to the needs and desires of the next generation. Millennials need to feel engaged, or we’ll simply change jobs. 

Millennials work for a purpose. In a recent study, 75% of millennials said they would take less pay to work for a socially responsible company, 76% consider a company’s social and environmental policies before accepting a position, and 64% won’t take the job if the potential employer doesn’t have corporate responsibility practices. This doesn’t mean that companies should donate more money. Socially responsible companies are concerned with the bottom line and the community, equally. These companies make day-to-day decisions based on social and environmental accountability. Millennials are excited to show how their work is making the world a better place. CEOs that include social media sharing practices create ambassadors for their social and environmental efforts. Effectively, CEOs are building the brand from the inside out – and building a network of referrals. 

Millennials work for development. We want to learn and grow. Most of us are early in our careers and grew up with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. We want to be challenged. As CEOs, let your prospective millennial employee know the policies in place for career development, tuition reimbursement, and other learning opportunities. CEOs need to show that they support the professional goals of millennials. Millennials value professional growth over perks. 

Millennials are looking for a coach. We’re not looking for someone to tell us what to do or give us a to-do list. We want someone to mentor us, support and empower us to achieve. Instead of focusing on how we failed, we want someone who will help us get back up. We want feedback vital to personal development and career achievement. Millennials are looking for bosses that will inspire us. 

Millennials want ongoing conversations. Semi-annual and annual reviews don’t work for millennials. We want to know how we’re doing as we’re going. Our generation is about fixing things quickly. We don’t want to do something one way for a year only to learn we’ve been doing it wrong. We want to connect with management and feel like we’re part of the conversation. This ties into growth, development, and purpose. Millennials need to feel like they’re part of the team, not just be part of the team. Ongoing conversations create engaged employees. 

Millennials focus on their strengths. CEOs must learn to individualize work product for millennials’ unique strengths. In today’s age, millennials are masters within their discipline. We want to be experts. CEOs need to learn to set expectations individually to avoid minimizing the contributions we make. When management checks in regularly, they can ensure we’re continually using our strengths.  

Millennials focus on life. Work is a central part of our lives, not something to be “balanced.” With this belief comes flex time, work-from-home, and permission to leave when the job is done. We work on tasks and projects, not for time clocks. Millennials want to work for companies that support their professional and personal goals with an emphasis on well-being. We are a generation focused on healthy alternatives. 

Millennials were quickly able to shift to COVID stay-at-home orders. We’re savvy and adaptable. We’re likely to share what we’re doing at work on our social channels. We strive to be the best we can be. And, when fostered, we’re loyal. 

We are also being plucked by employers directly from our LinkedIn profiles by savvy CEOs that know how to reward us. As CEOs you have the choice. You can learn how to manage millennials or install a revolving door.

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