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managing millennials

Why Don’t Millennials Follow Directions?

Often when I’m speaking to managers of Millennial employees, I’m asked, “Why don’t my Millennial employees follow directions?” As a manager, it can be frustrating to give an assignment only to find out a week later that the assignment is not completed, or partially-completed. What’s the deal? There are two things to know about Millennials that can help you with this on-going management challenge: speed and specificity.

Speed

Since childhood, Millennials have been conditioned to receive guidance and feedback at a high degree of frequency.  Instant feedback on their computer-based quizzes and tests, Google searches, texting and Snapchatting with friends has all had a profound influence on the expectations of speed or response. Particularly in school, Millennials were tested, evaluated, graded and given feedback more often than any other generation to date. Older generations indulged in the virtue of patience simply because things took longer to happen back then. Older generations understand waiting. Millennials were not raised in an environment where waiting is a thing. Instant feedback on almost everything is the norm.

As a manager in the workplace,  consider ‘checking-in’ with your millennial employees a few times a day about the assignment that you’ve provided. You might think it is overkill, but to a Millennial, that’s normal. Frequent ‘check-ins’ allow you to assess their ability to stay on task on that assignment you’ve provided them to make sure they understand how to proceed.

Specificity

Accelerating your check-ins is key, but another important element to get Millennials to accomplish their assignments is to provide directions to Millennials with a high level of specificity. Different generations have very different viewpoints on this issue. Boomer and GenXers embrace the notion of doing an assignment their way. They revel in the independence they have—they don’t need a roadmap, they just need a goal and they will likely get it done with little or no supervision. The viewpoint of Millennials is almost exactly the opposite. They are fairly dependent on you as a manager. They want very specific directions on how to do an assignment correctly, and also an explanation for why it is important.

Why is this? It’s because Millennials were raised in a highly planned and structured environment. From childhood, their lives have been heavily managed by their parents. Even their schools advocated a highly planned and structured environment. Free time and play was not something Millennials did—everything was planned for them.  Another contributing factor in their need for specificity is that they hate to take risks and hate to fail. An “opened-ended” assignment for them is viewed as a risk. Their viewpoint is “why should I take a chance on doing an assignment the wrong way when there is probably an already proven way to do it without error”.  Be assured that if there is a YouTube video on how to do something, they are on it.

A LifeCourse Associates survey revealed: “69 percent of Millennials say they like their supervisor to provide them with ‘hands-on guidance and direction.’ Only about 40 percent of Boomers and older Gen Xers said the same.” In response, many companies are doing away with the annual performance review. It is being replaced with more frequent meetings, updates, goal tracking and evaluations with more specificity. Major companies doing this include GE, Accenture, Deloitte and more.

As a manager, make sure to provide instructions that have clear goals and clear process with a roadmap that assures them they are going in the right direction. Providing them with frequent cycles of open and honest feedback will have positive affects — increased loyalty, professional satisfaction and more employee engagement. Millennials will feel valued, cared for and motivated to meet their goals. Incorporating these two simple elements—speed and specificity means they’ll be more likely to stay with the company for the long run, ultimately reducing recruitment and retention costs.

 

gamification

Game-ify Your Workplace

 

For a generation that grew up with Nintendo, Play Station, and Xbox 360, it makes sense that Millennials seek out fun ways accomplish tasks and achieve goals at work. It is estimated that 70 percent of the largest companies today are using some form of gamification to attract and retain their young talent.

Wait… What?

“Gamification” applies game technique to get people to achieve their goals. This is a real thing, and it is a $2.8 billion business. Think about it — Millennials have been conditioned to earn points, badges or rewards through games or competitions, and they like having targets set that are challenging but reachable with smaller goals along the way to measure progress and development.

In addition, because Millennials prefer to compete as part of a team, as opposed to individually, forward-looking companies have found ways to use game techniques in a positive way that encourages collaboration, recognition and support among employees of all ages.

A Growing Trend

According to Gartner Research, the gamification industry (primarily through apps and digital tools) will see significant growth in the next five years, with a market that could reaching $5.5 billion. There are already numerous vendors that can help businesses use the concept; one of the best known is a company called Badgeville.

Best Practices

But many companies are developing their own models and internal competitions that promote productivity. One insurance company, Chicago-based Assurance, has started a Digital High-Five program that promotes both positive, public recognition and competition. Employees can give other employees a digital high-five as a way to recognize good work. These are projected on LCD screens throughout the office for everyone to see. Employees “collect” high-fives, and each quarter the employee who accumulates the most wins an award.

Another insurance organization, Los Angeles-based Bolton and Company, hosted the “Bolton Rock Star Challenge.” To promote creativity and collaboration among employees, the company asked employees to nominate each other. Nominees received a guitar pick, and the person who collected the most guitar picks at the end of a 6-month period was proclaimed winner.

Millennials increasing believe that being successful long-term in their chosen career means meeting short-term goals and making steady, upward progress. Gamification is one way employers can help Millennials see the link between what they do at work today and how it helps their professional development for meeting tomorrow’s (or next year’s) goals.

Learn more about gamification and how it fits into recruiting and retaining the top Millennials — particularly in the insurance industry — in the soon-to-be-released white paper, “Maximizing Millennials for Insurance Agents and Brokers” from CoachingMillennials through the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB).

Get on the list (by providing your email address in our Newsletter sign-up box) to receive a notification when the report is released.

Top four reasons that Millennials are leaving their “dream jobs”

Millennials Dream Job

60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period

Warren Wright is Executive Vice President of LifeCourse Associates, a publishing, speaking, and consulting company built on the generational discoveries of Neil Howe and William Strauss. Warren has spent over twenty-five years in leadership roles at companies that use behavioral sciences, statistics, organizational development, change management, and media to help their clients.

Last week I came across a study that said 60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period. This was part of the much publicized Millennial Branding Report that was released in August. Among the findings, 51% of companies report that the cost of training and development is highest when hiring Millennials. This is obvious, as on-boarding costs for new talent requires far more resources and development. 56% of employers revealed that it takes 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial into a new role. This statistic is a little concerning, as it seems the expectations of companies is too high in terms of getting new employees up to speed on a role. Well managed companies with typically invest several months, not weeks in on-boarding and development.

  • 60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period
  • 51% of companies report that the cost of training and development is highest when hiring Millennials
  • 56% of employers revealed that it takes 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial into a new role

The top four reasons that Millennials are leaving their “dream jobs” might be less about Millennials and more about their managers. When I worked at Gallup, our consulting mantra revolved around the notion that your manager is responsible for 85% of your experience with the company you work for– they can make you or break you. It turns out that the reason for high Millennial turnover is bad management. Listed below are four reasons Millennials say they are leaving their dream job, and each one of thee reasons has to do the difference between good management practices and bad management practices:

#1: “No one is asking for my feedback”

Clue: If your Millennial isn’t happy, find out why. This is management 101. Frequent check-ins are critical especially early on ones career, and especially for Millennials, who are known as the “Feedback generation”.

#2. “I wasn’t clear about opportunities for advancement”

Clue: Provide clear opportunities for advancement (in excruciating detail). Millennials like to see a clear path for advancement, and it does not have to be straight up the ladder… it can be different responsibilities at the same level. The important thing is that the path is clear and someone is guiding them along the way.

#3. “The job was advertised as one thing, but it turned out to be something else”

Clue: Never inflate or misrepresent a role. Be completely honest about job expectations. Recruiters in HR try to put their best foot forward, but sometimes, if the job seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Always temper job expectations with reality about the job.

#4. “It seemed like no one cared about me”

Clue: Show that you care. This is a big one. Remember, Millennials grew up with an entire team that was looking out for their well-being: parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, etc. Transitioning into the workplace  can be an entirely different environment than their life experience up until their first job. Frequent check-ins, feedback sessions, praise for good work, and constructive criticism for missing the mark– these are all important elements to successfully managing Millennials.

In summary, many of the reasons Millennials are leaving their jobs is directly related to the quality of the manager to foster high levels of productivity of the employees he or she manages. Millennials seem to be forcing the bigger issue of demanding better management overall. As they say, a rising tide raises all ships– better management not only helps Millennial employees, but all employees.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Top four reasons that Millennials are leaving their "dream jobs"

Millennials Dream Job

60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period

Warren Wright is Executive Vice President of LifeCourse Associates, a publishing, speaking, and consulting company built on the generational discoveries of Neil Howe and William Strauss. Warren has spent over twenty-five years in leadership roles at companies that use behavioral sciences, statistics, organizational development, change management, and media to help their clients.

Last week I came across a study that said 60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period. This was part of the much publicized Millennial Branding Report that was released in August. Among the findings, 51% of companies report that the cost of training and development is highest when hiring Millennials. This is obvious, as on-boarding costs for new talent requires far more resources and development. 56% of employers revealed that it takes 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial into a new role. This statistic is a little concerning, as it seems the expectations of companies is too high in terms of getting new employees up to speed on a role. Well managed companies with typically invest several months, not weeks in on-boarding and development.

  • 60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period
  • 51% of companies report that the cost of training and development is highest when hiring Millennials
  • 56% of employers revealed that it takes 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial into a new role

The top four reasons that Millennials are leaving their “dream jobs” might be less about Millennials and more about their managers. When I worked at Gallup, our consulting mantra revolved around the notion that your manager is responsible for 85% of your experience with the company you work for– they can make you or break you. It turns out that the reason for high Millennial turnover is bad management. Listed below are four reasons Millennials say they are leaving their dream job, and each one of thee reasons has to do the difference between good management practices and bad management practices:

#1: “No one is asking for my feedback”

Clue: If your Millennial isn’t happy, find out why. This is management 101. Frequent check-ins are critical especially early on ones career, and especially for Millennials, who are known as the “Feedback generation”.

#2. “I wasn’t clear about opportunities for advancement”

Clue: Provide clear opportunities for advancement (in excruciating detail). Millennials like to see a clear path for advancement, and it does not have to be straight up the ladder… it can be different responsibilities at the same level. The important thing is that the path is clear and someone is guiding them along the way.

#3. “The job was advertised as one thing, but it turned out to be something else”

Clue: Never inflate or misrepresent a role. Be completely honest about job expectations. Recruiters in HR try to put their best foot forward, but sometimes, if the job seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Always temper job expectations with reality about the job.

#4. “It seemed like no one cared about me”

Clue: Show that you care. This is a big one. Remember, Millennials grew up with an entire team that was looking out for their well-being: parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, etc. Transitioning into the workplace  can be an entirely different environment than their life experience up until their first job. Frequent check-ins, feedback sessions, praise for good work, and constructive criticism for missing the mark– these are all important elements to successfully managing Millennials.

In summary, many of the reasons Millennials are leaving their jobs is directly related to the quality of the manager to foster high levels of productivity of the employees he or she manages. Millennials seem to be forcing the bigger issue of demanding better management overall. As they say, a rising tide raises all ships– better management not only helps Millennial employees, but all employees.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Coaching is the New Managing For Millennials

I love Peter Drucker.  The father of modern management always cut through the complexity and got to the heart of that matter. I remember during the weighty assignments in finance and accounting classes while getting my MBA, I’d run across a Drucker quote like, “business has only two functions, marketing and innovation”. This inspired me to slog through the double-entry bookkeeping.

Drucker died in 1995 at the age of 96, so he never managed a Millennial, but if he did, he would be refining and tweaking one aspect of his management theory. He might say that to get Millennials to peak performance, manage less, and coach more.  Coaching is the new managing for Millennials. Here’s why

Millennials grew up to believe they were special. From an early age they were doted on by their parents, helicopter-hovered in K-12, and plastered with gold stars for completing assignments. They have been under the watchful eye of parents, teachers, tutors, and coaches all their lives. For the most part, these authority figures have been caring with their Millennials’ best interest in mind.  So when these Millennials enter the workforce, how will they respond to someone who doesn’t possess these characteristics? A distant authority figure doling out unexplained assignments and lofty goals without explaining how to get to those goals is not the way to get there. On the other hand, someone that will work closely with them, mentoring and partnering– coaching them to better performance will experience far greater levels of productivity.

The word “management” conjures up a faceless bureaucratic infrastructure, at worst– malevolent, and at best—indiscriminate: Rule-making and decision-making at its worst. Drucker himself even said, “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work”

Let me be clear. The principles of good management still need to apply—clear expectations, a means of tracking progress, and rewards for achieving goals. But how a manager manages should be more like a coach—developing his or her Millennial employee with close supervision and a watchful, caring eye.

Old habits die hard, and if you’ve been a manager for more than 10-years, I can understand the inclination to subscribe to the philosophy,  ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ But something does not have to be broke in order to fix it.  Change happens, and the strong are those that can adapt to change. Millennials are different from the previous two generations. They are the change that is happening in the workplace, and coaching, not managing, might be the change that gets your organization to higher levels of productivity.

Take it from Peter Drucker when he says, “If you want to start doing something new, stop doing something old.” Coaching is the new managing when it comes to Millennials.

-Warren Wright

www.coachingmillennials.com