4 Tips for Effective Millennial Management By A Millennial
According to the bureau of labor statistics, millennials are expected to comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025 at 75% representation. Not only are millennials the largest generation to date (with an 80+ million cohort), but they are also the most educated and diverse.
Time feels like it’s moving at a faster rate as every year goes by and in a blink of an eye, 2025 will be here before we know it. With these fresh perspectives sprinkling into our organizations year over year, it’ll be very important for people managers to identify the different opportunities to flex their style to resonate more effectively with this up and coming demographic.
For the past two years, 90% of my direct reports (18 out of 20) have been millennials. I’ve encountered many interesting situations that yielded learnings, effective approaches, and tons of laughs. The tips I’m about to share are a mix of my own personal lens paired with my experience in managing a millennial team.
1. See you on Facebook!
In the office, my conversations are not restricted to work related topics but span to their personal lives as well (as much as they’d like to share). Managers have varying perspectives around being connected via social media with their direct reports, but I find it favorable. Connecting with them via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. allows me to be up to date with what goes on in their journey outside of work. In my mind, they aren’t just employees who help me win in the office, but they are also beautiful people that have families, cute pets and passions. Through our online connection, I get to see what they are inspired by and what is meaningful to them. It’s also helpful in building a relationship in real time because I know the person outside of the office, not just the one who sits at the desk and the accuracy of their data reports. I recently taught someone on my team how to use Snapchat and had her download the application – this is how I know she helped her family throw her cousins graduation party over the weekend! This goes both ways as well – my team has continuously communicated how much they appreciate me revealing my whole self to them as well. It humanizes our relationship in the office.
2. Lead Through Transparency.
Our SVP of Talent, Pat Wadors, is a true change agent. Since her arrival at LinkedIn, she has infused the company with transparency around our policies, process, and decision-making. Transparency is highly valued by Gen Y’s as they appreciate being in the know and being involved in as much of the decision making process as possible. Our generation has been raised in an education system where collaboration and the sharing of ideas trump operating in a vacuum. Additionally, they have continually communicated the importance in reserving time during team meetings to understand the big picture and what everyone is doing to drive towards those broader goals. It enhances the connective tissue of the team and makes them feel like a cohesive whole.
3. Do you have any feedback for me?
There’s a lot of talk about Gen Y and their inclination for instant gratification. They are technology natives who are used to having everything accessible to them within mere seconds (depending on the signal strength of course). In the confines of the office, millennials love to receive feedback; they crave it like wifi and they thrive off of it. I find it particularly effective to give real time feedback the minute I observe something, whether it be positive reinforcement for a job well done or constructive feedback for future improvement. You have to remember that most millennials are early in their career and they don’t know what they don’t know. You’ll engage in the types of interactions which you never thought you’d have – a new hire hugging you every time they see you, a new hire chasing you down to respond to a non-urgent email they sent three seconds ago, a new hire wearing beach shorts to important presentation meetings, etc. It can be really awkward, but just take it by the horns and help set them on the right track. You’re doing them a favor in the long run, and they will embrace the feedback and appreciate it in the end. While you’re at it, be sure to ask them for feedback because millenials love giving feedback even more than they like receiving it. As a manager it’s always great to see where and how one can flex their style for the betterment of their employees.
4. We want ownership!
Gone are the days where we have people filing away in cabinets doing busy work. This new age of workers enjoys having ownership and understanding how they impact the broader company goals. I believe in giving employees a full scope of work and letting them own and drive it. The beauty of millennials is that they are used to fetching their own information and being resourceful. I find it most effective to give general parameters and guidance on a project and let them fill in the rest with their resourcefulness. Empower them to be creative and sometimes even encourage them to color outside of the lines. I believe in giving them room to operate independently, while at the same time being close enough to catch them if they go off track.
Would love to hear your thoughts!
Gen Y – what would you love to see more of from your managers?
Managers – what’s worked well for you in managing early in career talent?