Guest Post by Ryan Currie
Working with millennials can be a challenge but you’re just making things harder on yourself by missing valuable opportunities in your interactions. Millennials aren’t as selfish, as tuned-out, or as idealistic as they’re pegged to be and they actually provide a lot of valuable tools you can use to grow your business.
Whether you’re the boss, a manager, or even just a colleague, here are seven ways you’re missing opportunities with your millennials.
1. You’re being too polite.
The best thing about working with millennials is that they’re not all wrapped up in the decencies of workplace etiquette. When dealing with this group you can get right to the point, expect and ask for brutal honesty, and not worry so much about the proper chain-of-command. Not only that, but millennials expect to be connected to work at all times via their smartphones and won’t take a late-night email as an intrusion.
2. You’re boxing them in.
Maybe you’re worried about their lack of experience or perhaps you’re just used to giving employees and coworkers very, very clear parameters. Millennials don’t work this way. You’ll be shocked just how innovative and outside the box they can get if you give them room to take risks – reward your millennials for being outlandish, for having ‘big’ ideas, and for taking chances and they’ll impress you.
3. You’re keeping them too separated.
Thanks to the new college experience and the connectivity of the internet, millennials aren’t just used to working in teams, they work best this way. Maybe you pride yourself in giving everyone an office and ensuring all employees have a specific set of duties but in fact, an open-concept work environment or regularly scheduled collaboration sessions may be serving you better. One millennial plus one millennial equals more than two.
4. You’re not giving them enough social power.
If there’s one thing millennials understand better than anyone else on your staff, it’s social media. Don’t be so protective of your brand that you’re missing the point of the unpolished, engaging nature of social! Your millennials inherently understand how to communicate online and they’ll do your brand a world of good if you just give them the leeway to talk to customers, other brands, and represent the company as themselves.
5. You’re not giving them good reasons to stick around.
Millennials have a reputation for being flaky and yes, it’s true, they only stay at positions about a year and a half, on average. But you can change that! The more reasons you give them to invest themselves in your company (and the more ownership in its growth) the harder time they’re going to have leaving. “Perks” are more attractive to them than “benefits” and they get the value of equity early on. It’s a Catch 22 but the more invested you get in your millennials, the more they’ll get in the business.
6. You’re not giving them enough feedback.
You know what millennials want? Direction. They don’t want you to micromanage and they don’t want to speak to you only at their biannual evaluation. They want you to take them to lunch and openly and honestly talk to them about their mistakes, their upcoming challenges, and what they’re doing right. They’re difficult to insult, those millennials, and that’s a good thing.
7. You’re not letting them work remotely.
Millennials value flexibility in their workplace and they’re surprisingly accountable when given leeway to work from home, take personal days when needed, and ‘work until the job is done.’ The more you let millennials define their own work experience the more they’re going to give back to your brand. Ditch the 9-5 attitude once and for all and watch these employees flourish.
What are you doing to stifle the productivity of your millennials? They’re bright, they’re engaged, and most of all they’re ready and they need you to bend a little to accommodate their style. Everyone will benefit from a little compromise!
How are you building a culture of diversity and strength across the generations?
Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.