Understanding Your Employees: Spotlight on Millennials

What is a Millennial?

The most cut-and-dry identifier of someone in the Millennial generation is that they were born between 1978 and 2002. Attitudinal and behavioral tendencies generally observed in this generation include:

  • Prolonged adolescence
  • Better educated than previous generations
  • “Helicopter parents” have instilled a strong sense of the Millennial’s uniqueness, which leads to the belief that they are special and should be treated as such
  • Use of technology comes as second nature

What Millennials mean for your business

The above description of Millennials may indicate that they have a warped sense of reality, and to some extent that’s true. But they’re also a tolerant, tech-savvy bunch that can help move your organization into one that makes more effective use of technology, builds a stronger of community (internal and external), and fosters trust. They were born in the era of laptops and iPods, Facebook and Twitter, and they know how to use them effectively.

Millennials tend to be civic-minded and confident, valuing diversity and achievement

They like to be challenged. They want to like their work and to leave work at work (not take it home like their parents did); if they don’t, they will find more meaningful work elsewhere. Use this information along with their Kolbe Indexes® to align your Millennial employees with your business strategy.

Your business will benefit from Millennial’s persistence, optimism, diversity, confidence, and multi-tasking abilities, though you’ll need to provide plenty of structure and to grow their experience working with people. You can optimize Millennial’s performance by:

  • Budgeting plenty of time for orienting them and creating a clear picture of the work environment and expectations
  • Learning about the employee's goals and develop a strategy for weaving them into job performance
  • Setting employee goals (short- and long-term)
  • Growing  your training department  and providing opportunities for professional development and continuing education
  • Demonstrating and developing strong leadership
  • Where there are lots of Millennials, consider expanding the size of teams and appoint a strong team leader
  • Offering assistance with handling difficult people issues
  • Establishing strong mentoring programs - matching young workers with most seasoned people with whom they resonate

The Pew Research Center is currently working on a yearlong series of reports that will profile the generation known as Millennials -- reports that will enable employers to further understand the drivers and motivators to which this group responds.

What are some ways you have succeeded working with Millennials in your organization?