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How to Manage Millennials in the Workplace
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that millennials form the largest percentage of the workforce today.
They are increasingly influential in the era of technology and information, have a different idea of what an office should feel and look like, and are not ready to compromise.
However it is impossible to avoid them because they have the skills you need.
A new study published by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) shows that one of their greatest strengths is that they are tech-savvy, but at the same time they are not good team players.
On the flip side, millennials are losing out on great opportunities because they fail to understand work environments and how to compromise. By their thirties, many will have worked for so many companies that they appear unreliable. They also have no chance to sharpen their skills and thus increase their employment potential.
Succeeding As a Millennial in Employment
Assume you have completed school and got your degree or diploma. Your focus is to only work for a few years, make money and retire to enjoy life while you are still young.
This does not always happen.
Most millennials are walking around with exemplary degrees but have few opportunities to apply this knowledge. In fact, they envy less educated artisans who are making huge waves in different industries.
Some are entrepreneurs while others offer freelance skills. What then is the point in spending years in school only to finish with a mind boggling loan and a useless certificate?
It is not all lost for millennials and there are excellent ways to still remain relevant in the employment market. Here are some ways that can also be used before one gets into the job market.
1. Tweak Your Skill with IT
Technology is taking over every aspect of human life. In the next few years, employment opportunities will be reserved for people who have IT skills. For instance, consider the rise of online marketing, the place of technology in accounting, the use of highly sophisticated software in engineering, etc.
The employee of the future needs basic IT skills as a bare minimum. Analogue skills will be rendered useless as more industries take up information technology.
Millennials are going to school and graduating earlier than boomers, for instance. This means getting into the job market very early. Others have entrepreneurial minds and plunge into the field straight from school. This is a recipe for an extremely inexperienced workforce. Without experience, employers are hesitant to give you an opportunity and you are likely to lag behind your peers. Bridge the experience gap by volunteering your skills. It gives you a feel of how work environments work. It gives you the foundation to learn how businesses work, and the work ethic you need to remain valuable and competitive.
3. Online Education
Work environments are changing rapidly with demand for new or advanced skills on daily basis. However, there is no need to waste your days in class again. The internet is a university on merit. It offers all the information you need to bridge the skill gap you might be experiencing. Institutions have also moved their curriculum online. This allows you to access the most prestigious institutions and content from the comfort of your desk. Online education is also the perfect avenue to get the latest qualifications in your discipline. It will give you an edge ahead of your peers in education.
Success in employment today will depend on your eagerness to acquire relevant skills fast. You must read the signs of the times and adjust accordingly.
Managing Millennials in the Workplace
Millennials have an idea of what they want to do and, understandably, little respect for traditional career paths.
They want to work from any location and with a flexible schedule as long as they meet their targets. They also reach the peak of their careers very fast and have very high dreams. The only way to keep them at your workplace is to learn how to manage these behaviors and expectations.
It's very possible to create a super-efficient workforce made up of millennials. Here's the formula:
Flip Their Weakness to Your Advantage
The major weaknesses of millennials can be summed up as an obsession with technology, a sense of entitlement and impatience.
There is a remedy for each of these weaknesses.
- Impatience - on average, a millennial will work for four companies within ten years of leaving college. You need to find a way to retain the skills until you cannot contain the person any more. This is best done by creating a vision for the business that the millennials can relate to. It requires constant consultation and allowing them to take charge. The dream of the organization will become theirs.
- Technology obsession - a significant number of millennials cannot communicate outside social media. They spend time on gadgets even when in the company of other people. Integrate technology into your systems. Allow frequent breaks as their concentration span is also significantly reduced. Allow them to infuse technology into your operations with caution, for instance, to manage your social media account or digital marketing. You will be surprised how some procedures are simplified.
- Entitlement - millennials think that their parents, employers, colleagues, the state, etc owes them a lot. Sometimes they think they are the most valuable and are likely to disrupt operations with their grumpy approach. This can bring down your business or spread the same virus to other employees. The solution is to pay for any extra minute or additional skill spent at your premises. This will encourage them to be proactive since they have tasted the rewards. Allow them to take responsibility and mentor them into higher roles. You will easily tap into their innovative minds which adds incredible value to your business.
Manage Results, Not People
Millennials have an incredible sense of self belief. They have discovered easier and faster ways of completing tasks so that they can spend time on the internet and social media. Reduce the number of rules and concentrate your focus on results. They will deliver faster in order to resume their millennial obsessions.
The solution to making the best out of millennials is to work with them rather than have them work for you. They want to define their career paths and procedures. Give them the freedom to do that. Rather than being a boss, become a mentor to them.
About the Author
Philip Piletic - My primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. I’m a freelancer, writer and traveler who loves to share his experience with others by contributing to online communities and helping others achieve success.
I’d like to thank ITIC for their help with this article.