Millennial workers approach jobs with a fresh outlook that may serve your more seasoned staff, too.
It's well documented that so-called Millennials--the generation born after 1980--have a working culture that differs from those who have a longer history in the workplace. This mix can cause some friction. But when you consider that the members of this new generation are the business leaders of tomorrow (or even today!), you might find that their preferences provide management insights worth implementing. Here are a few ways to start.
This new generation is used to maintaining complex social relationships in the virtual world of Facebook and Twitter. They're comfortable interacting in horizontal structures that allow them to collaborate without strict oversight. Implementing this approach in your organization might make you nimbler and more responsive to change, while also allowing communication to flow more freely. Instead of creating a strict hierarchy of fixed roles, try assembling ad hoc groups who bring together disparate skills to solve problems or pursue projects.
Millennials have demonstrated great mental agility, with a tendency to become bored if they're not challenged to learn something new. Consider ways to shake up the routine in your organization and offer employees opportunities to challenge themselves--with new projects or by pursuing certifications, for example. At the same time, remain in the feedback loop so they can gauge their progress continually.
Because they've grown up with cell phones and laptops, this generation is completely comfortable with technology, especially when it comes to communication and mobility. In fact, those on the leading edge of this generation consider email to be a geezer technology. Be willing to organizationally adopt methods of communication that are both immediate (such as instant messaging) and public (such as social networks).
Social networking is all about sharing information, which is something Millenials tend to expect. Try breaking communication silos to solicit comments from disparate parts of the organization. And don't withhold information. Treat your team like collaborators, and they will reward you with novel approaches and good ideas.
Learning from the next generation is the best way to prepare yourself--and your organization--for the future. And if that takes you a little bit outside of your comfort zone, remember that you're only as old as you feel..
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