Guest Post by Piera Palazzolo
With the prime of the Millennial Generation starting to enter the workforce, it is beginning to bring up many unique problems and challenges for their Baby Boomer and Generation X co-workers. Although bringing in new talent always has its challenges, Millennials have grown up in a world completely different to anyone before them. Many of these individuals grew up just as computers were becoming a staple in family homes. As teenagers they probably had a Xanga, MySpace, and Facebook, and now have more than 5 social media accounts on their phones.
Many of their parents were raised to believe that success was a stable job and a nice suburban home for their families. Millennials, however, were raised to believe that they need to express themselves and be an individual to be successful. These differences in upbringing can make engaging these new employees in the workplace more difficult for their older counterparts. However, if their strengths are harnessed, Millennials could make for all-star components on a team with Baby Boomer and Generation X employees.
Let them Express Themselves
Millennials have grown up being able to express themselves in everything they do. Just look at their phones. They take extreme pride in being able to showcase who they are with the case, background, and ringtones. Allowing them to do little things like change the background on their computers, or decorate their workspace will let them feel like they are not losing their identity they have worked so hard to cultivate.
With all employees, it is important to set priorities and expectations of all the work to be accomplished. This is especially true with Millennials, as they are used to having many things going on at once. While they may be accustomed to listening to a conversation, texting on their phone, and mentally planning out their weekend at once, they also may tend to overestimate their multitasking abilities. You can help these employees by letting them know exactly what you are expecting of them and when you are expecting it to be completed. These strict guidelines will help them prioritize and not become distracted by the many exciting projects going on.
It may sound simple, but making an employee feel valued will greatly boost engagement. If they feel as if their opinion counts for something, they will be more likely to share it and continue to contribute. A few words of encouragement and praise will go a long way with the Millennial Generation who likes to feel accomplished.
By taking the time to understand the Millennial Generation, and modify the workplace to harbor their creativity and technologically savvy minds, you will be able to easily engage them and create a happy and productive workplace.
How do you engage Millennials in the workplace? Join the conversation with your insights!
Ms. Piera Palazzolo is Senior Vice President of Marketing for Dale Carnegie Training, the renowned leadership training company founded on the principles of Dale Carnegie, author of: “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Connect with Dale Carnegie Training on Facebook and Twitter.
Join the Conversation
Engaging Millennials in the Workplace
Ms. Palazzolo, thank you for surfacing the principles that I have seen play out in both class rooms and board rooms around the globe. Each generation has an environment that produced challneges and unique growth. I have also found, as you point out, that creating a culture that honors both expression of a point of view and the lessons learned from practicing listening. Then the values will be confirmed followed by key behaviours. The company culture unites all generations and honors their uniquely evolving contributions. Thanks for the reminder.
Thank you for such a thoughtful comment! I absolutely agree that listening and trying to understand other generations is key to a happy and productive workplace.
So if you’re not a “Millennial” you’re left out?
Absolutely not! It is a collaborative effort. Any generational notions should melt away and we should work together to create better organizational cultures, better products, and better leaders. Thanks!
Understanding is the start of a strong relationship across all generations. Great suggestions here that would have org-wide application. Appreciate the deeper context specific to Millennials!
Agree, Alli. Need to start with understanding, embracing empathy as a way to listen and build good, solid working relationships. Thanks!