As a business owner, you’ve seen people come and go. Everyone is different, but you’ve noticed that each age group has similarities.
Millennials are entering the workforce now, challenging businesses with new ideas and forcing their managers to adapt to their peculiar lifestyles. Integrating the new generation with the Baby Boomer culture is challenging, but not without advantages.
The biggest benefit of hiring millennials is their self-confidence. It’s no secret that kids these days have been lauded with attention and validation. For many, that grows into a strong sense of drive and a desire to achieve. That’s something you have to foster in older employees, but you just have to point younger ones in the right direction.
So how do you assimilate Millennials into your business without disrupting your flow?
Change the way you evaluate. You’ll have to adjust your gut-feeling indicators of what makes a good employee. A 24-year-old who lives at home isn’t necessarily a lazy character. He’s likely saddled with student loans and comfortable with his parents. Likewise, he isn’t distracted because his phone is in his hand all the time. That’s a big part of how he communicates and works.
Expand your communication and technology. Millennials grew up in the digital age where communication is fast, open and easily accessible. They’re comfortable using online tools, apps, and secure internal sites to keep in touch with colleagues. Use their affinity for technology to learn new ways to improve your processes and procedures.
Invest in their education. This generation was raised on the idea that education is the road to success. Most of them have college educations. They’re quick learners because they don’t fear new ideas. You can amplify their potential by using their penchant for learning. Send them to conferences, trade shows, mentorship programs, and even pay for additional schooling. They’ll soak that education up and use it to empower your business.
Encourage work/life balance. Millennials are less concerned about their future at their age than most generations. They carry a live-in-the-moment mentality. They want flexible work schedules that leave room for life experiences and a company culture that’s concerned about their health.
Give their job meaning. According to a PCW survey, 72% of millennials feel they settled for their job. Help them gain satisfaction by doling out frequent feedback and giving them more responsibility. Emotional validation is an excellent way to make employees (especially this generation) feel like their work matters. 50% would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values.
Prepare for them to leave. Times are different. Millennials are staying at their jobs for less than three years. The days of the “company man” who works for the same business all his life are over. Unless you can sate their desire to advance quickly, prepare yourself for higher turnover. That doesn’t mean you should work your employees hard until they leave, but you should create ample documentation and build processes for outgoing employees to train their replacements.
If you want to maintain your success and grow further, you’ll have to accept younger workers, with all their quirks and preferences. Millennials are the future of our businesses, so we have to make it work.
Commercial Lender, Vice President