How to Manage Your Millennials

68% of organizations find it difficult to manage Millennials, and 72% of Millennials report that their employers aren’t getting the most out of their skills. But now that they’re the largest share of the workforce (sorry, Gen Xers), leaders will need to find ways to get the best out of them, and convince them to stick around, if they want their organizations to succeed.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes: they want a trophy! They need constant feedback! They want to be leaders without paying their dues! Instead of thinking of these as drawbacks, though, these companies are showing how it pays to adapt to Millennials’ preferences:

  • They all want a trophy? So give them greater recognition. At cloud services company Evolve IP, they refer to all employees as “associates” to reinforce the belief that all employees’ ideas are worthy of top-team consideration, no matter their age or station in the company. They also use an internal software program in which employees can praise, acknowledge, and reward each other. Find out what other initiatives are leading to a 90% retention rate.

  • They need constant feedback? Make it a part of the culture. Digital product studio ustwo knows that providing feedback is crucial to becoming a better organization. In their teams, feedback can come from anyone to anyone, regardless of hierarchy or role, as long as it is relevant, constructive, and given with the motivation to help. See their step-by-step guide to providing constructive feedback, and how to foster an environment in which feedback is welcome.

  • They want to be leaders? Great—why get in their way? At Bacardi, CEO Mike Dolan is working with Nim De Swardt, Bacardi’s Global Millennials Manager, to develop the Bacardi Rising Stars Program. The program is designed to give Millennials more responsibility and prepare them for leading by offering mentorship and intrapreneurship opportunities. Learn about the other aspects of the program here.

Now that the class of 2016 has graduated, there’s a good chance you’re going to be seeing some new Millennials in your workplace in the very near future. We’ve created a quick guide to what they should do in their first week on the job, so feel free to forward it to any newbies (anonymously, if needed). And when they do mess up—in spite of what they might think, they’re not perfect—remind them that the key to avoiding rookie mistakes is to overcommunicate to their colleagues and bosses.

Here’s the truth: beyond the hype, Millennials are a huge generation, with more variation between individuals within the generation than between generations. People have always complained about younger generations, and it’s only a matter of time before Millennials start complaining about the work ethic of Gen Z or the generation after that. But the things Millennials are asking for—purpose, autonomy, growth opportunities—benefit everyone within the organization.


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