Leading the millennial workforce
Is your organisation geared up to harness the different strengths that each of your personnel bring? New generations are increasingly bringing with them new outlooks and motivations. Today’s leaders must transform their approach to be people-centred. They must manage everyone ‘generationally’ as well as understanding who they are and what strengths they have to offer, rather than trying to implement blanket policies and reacting to preference or circumstance as the old ‘situational approach’ once taught us.
Are you looking at your workforce and thinking how did I end up working with these kids? Transform your outlook to focus on strengths and you’ll realise that millennials come packaged with a broad skillset that is well-adapted to the changing business climate. They are entrepreneurial and highly flexible. They seek out opportunities to continually improve their skills and knowledge. They are ambitious and results/output oriented. And they thrive when they are working to a purpose! You might say they are a new breed and they require a new breed of leader to harness their strengths.
As children of the communications technology revolution, millennials understand technology more instinctively. Let them drive your organisation’s adoption of new technology and don’t force them to work with obsolete, inefficient systems and hardware.
Provide opportunities for them to work collaboratively or gamify, and you’ll not only improve their productivity but that of other group members who are perhaps less used to the idea. To a millennial, used to collaborating through communications technology, this is simple logic. To others this is a new logistical challenge.
But don’t lose the personal touch. Millennials greatly value one-to-one interaction from their managers. And make sure you value diversity; don’t make the mistake of assuming young people are all the same.
Millennials care about your organisation’s mission and values and want to make a difference. They are strongly motivated by socio-political and environmental issues. Include them in planning and strategy; connect them to the context, drivers and goals of projects and work streams. Authenticity is key. Spend the time to help them understand and feel the wider context, purpose and value of their contribution. This will also provide fulfilment opportunities and with lots of feedback you’ll have a millennial workforce that is driven to achieve your organisations’ goals.