Today’s workforce is slowly transitioning into a workplace filled with technology savvy fun lovers who want to live life on their own terms. They want to hold down a regular job, grow in their careers whilst having fun at the same time. They are commonly referred to as Millenials. As an employer running a small business in this age, it is important to note that majority of your prospective employees would be Millennials and you would do yourself some good to understand how they think and make the best of their acumen, skills and energy while also striking a balance between work and play. One way to achieve this is to create a work environment that is flexible. Before we go further, let us find who exactly Millennials are.

Typical Characteristics of Millennials

Millennials are also called Generation Y and are the demographic cohorts following Generation X and are said to be born between the year 1980 and 2000[1]. By Internet research counts, 75,000,000 desirable millennial employees are preparing to join or are joining the workforce worldwide and will represent nearly 75% of the workforce by 2030[3]. Millenials:

  • Expect their career progression to fly from day one.
  • Want a coach, not a boss.
  • Expect to be recognized as stars and receive bonuses.
  • Want to grow, even if that means growing out of your company.
  • Believe that they are self-employed, and you are their client.
  • Expect to use technology and social media for work.
  • Expect to be engaged frequently in the course of the day for work, communication, fun/ personal – calls, messages, emails, chats etc.
  • Are ready to work really hard and when on leave as long as there is flexibility in areas like location, days etc.
  • Expect to have time for themselves to pursue interests and a social life

Tips for Managing Millennials

Below are a few tips that will help you successfully manage the Millennials on your team:

  • Allow Flexibility: Many millennials tend to leave their jobs to become freelance or start their own businesses just for a more balanced work-life environment. With the help of the internet, a considerable amount of tasks can be done outside the office environment. You could create allowance to work from home once or twice a month as long as it does not get in the way of getting the job done[4].
  • Provide Technology: The world of millennials is digital. They have a mindset that is focused on making things easier, faster, mobile, more efficient, more personal, inclusive and intuitive and they expect a workplace that is a catalyst for innovation as well as an avenue of communication on the job. Equipping them with technology will help you get the best from the Millennials on your team.
  • Provide Structure: Millennials work better with clearly defined roles, tasks and success factors. Hence, creating a work structure where goals are clearly stated and progress is assessed, and a work environment that has a balance of work and personal life will help you better manage these set of employees.
  • Provide Leadership and Guidance: The Millennials on your team will at some point come to you to seek your advice or thoughts on subject matters or your guidance on specific issues. They want your very best investment of time in their success. Therefore, structure a platform where they can learn from you, freely access you and receive daily feedback from you.
  • Encourage and Listen to Them: Typically because millennials are very outspoken and confident with expressing themselves, they prefer a work environment where they can freely express themselves. So managing them would mean ensuring that you do not squash or contain them but rather encourage their self-assuredness.
  • Keep them Engaged: This includes making them work on impactful projects, providing a collaborative environment (preferably online), and giving them leadership-linked responsibilities which will help boost their morale and work engagement.
  • Explore virtual resources to train them: Use online trainings, DIY videos etc to train your millennials. They will be better engaged using these types of training methods.

An understanding of how to manage your Millennial team members/employees would help you better leverage on their great strength and knowledge around communications, media, digital technologies etc. to positively impact your business. The tips offer a good place to start.

[1] Wikipedia, Millennials, accessed Apr 25, 2017

[2] Susan M. Heathfield, Sept 23, 2016: 11 Tips for Managing Millennials, the balance, accessed Mar 31 2017

[3] Jeff Fromm, Nov 6, 2015: Millennials In The Workplace – They Don’t Need Trophies But They Want Reinforcement, Forbes, accessed Apr 1, 2017

[4] Linkedin, July 22, 2015: 5 Work Life Balance Hacks Millennials will Love!, accessed Apr 11, 2017