Every generation that comes into the workplace brings cultural, environmental and other changes. But Millennials are changing modern workplaces in new and different ways that can be challenging to the people trying to manage members of this generation.
From teamwork to goals and feedback, here are the three C’s of how Millennials are changing your workplace.
Community. Millennials want this sense of community in their workplace. For managers, making Millennials feel like part of a larger team, developing a collaborative environment and culture, and emphasizing the “greater good” of a company’s mission the employees’ place in it, and providing volunteer opportunities related to their skills are all key to ensuring Millennials’ professional success and happiness.
Millennials have been raised with this sense of community. Members of the Millennial generation grew up completing group projects in school, playing organized team sports and participating in (often required) volunteer activities in school.
“From early childhood, Millennials have been encouraged by parents to work together and build important peer connections. As young adults, they are constantly connected to their friends and expect their leaders to take a stake in the well-being of the communities they hold dear,” according to a 2015 report from the Congressional Institute and LifeCourse Associates.
Seventy-one percent of respondents to an LBG Associates survey about corporate volunteerism “indicated that they felt more positive about their company as a result of these programs.”
A number of companies are taking big steps to incorporate volunteerism into their culture, including Deloitte, which offers unlimited paid time for volunteer projects. Novo Nordisk also provides significant paid time off to employees who volunteer, but also includes a community service component in most off-site meetings. The company also has an internal website to help employees find volunteer opportunities.
Confidence. Many Millennials crave an upbeat work environment that includes positive reinforcement from their peers and managers. This is because they were raised with a sense of optimism by parents who taught them to believe they can do anything if they put their mind to it.
Managers of Millennials can help them go far, do great work and achieve professional fulfillment by tapping into Millennials’ sense of optimism and confidence. Providing them with a organized support system is important as these Millennials look to take on new and interesting challenges in the workplace.
They crave frequent achievement that is measurable and attainable. In fact, one of the leading causes of low motivation among Millennials in the workforce is a lack of praise, according to Leadership IQ.
Because of this preference, many companies are moving away from the annual review in favor of project-based, monthly or even weekly review periods, frequent one-on-one meetings with managers and more collaboration on critical tasks. Cargill Inc. replaced its annual reviews with an “Everyday Performance Management” system that gives employees routine feedback. “Cargill says it’s seen measurable improvements after managers began giving constructive feedback that was forward-looking, instead of reviewing what had happened in the past,” FastCompany reported. Other companies building systems for routine and frequent feedback include Adobe, Accenture and Google.
In fact, 80 percent of Millennial employees who responded to an MTV Millennials in the workplace survey said they “would prefer real-time feedback over traditional performance reviews.”
Communication. While each generation has its own language, Millennials are communicating through different platforms than employees in prior decades.
In addition to the ways they communicate, managers should acknowledge that their language and tone are paramount to connecting with members of the Millennial generation. Millennials appreciate honesty and transparency from their managers and they crave feedback, but they also want to be heard. This will require a communication style that is conversational; managers of Millennials should keep their doors open and be approachable.
Millennials may tend to text and chat more and email less, but the real difference is in the now asynchronous nature of the way they communicate, which has changed the way they interact and work, according to Gallup. “With technology dominating every aspect of millennials lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that 41 percent say they prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over the telephone,” a PwC report revealed.
These three C’s — community, confidence and communication — will continue to mold the workplace of the future as Millennials gain footholds in senior management in the coming years.