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Seven Research-Backed Tips On Managing Millennials in the Workplace

As the largest generation in U.S. history, millennials outnumber even the baby boomers. They are already proving to be a true entrepreneur generation with global leaders as founders of companies like Airbnb, Pinterest, Lyft, and Spotify. And millennials are not only redefining everyday life, but also the workplace. And like every generation before and after them, managing millennials in the workplace is distinctly unique.

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Millennials have officially taken over as the largest population in the workforce, and by 2025, they will make up 75% of the global workforce. Having lived through 9/11, the Great Recession, and massive student debts, millennials are not only a large generation, but one that is characterized by their conviction, sense of responsibility, and grit. Incorporating these characteristics into your management style and strategy is crucial to motivating, building, and retaining a quality team – particularly in sales.

Millennials have officially taken over as the largest population in the workforce, and by 2025, they will make up 75% of the global workforce. Having lived through 9/11, the Great Recession, and massive student debts, millennials are not only a large generation, but one that is characterized by their conviction, sense of responsibility, and grit. Incorporating these characteristics into your management style and strategy is crucial to motivating, building, and retaining a quality team/

7 tips for managing millennials in the workplace successfully

We’ve dug into the research and have listed the seven necessary steps to cultivate your and manage your millennial team.

1. Consistent communication and feedback

Known as the “trophy kids,” Millennials are used to receiving acknowledgment and expect continuous feedback from the top-down in a work environment. Millennials typically turn to their managers for guidance and approval, so use this to your advantage by readily encouraging hard work and initiative. Leverage their curiosity and openness to constructive criticism to constantly work on improvements by integrating feedback more often than just semi-annual or quarterly reviews.

Balance meaningful feedback and guidance with also letting your team go a bit – hand-holding can be debilitating if taken too far. Build on a millennial’s inherent resourcefulness and give them the confidence to fail and try things on their own.

Millennial traits are important to know when managing millennials

2. Emphasize professional development

Millennials have grown up reliant on technology and texting as the primary form of communication and can struggle with interpersonal communication.

For example, sales reps can have a severe fear of cold calling and are challenged by in-person meetings, even if they do consider themselves social.

While millennials in the workforce score low on an innate sales strength, the average millennial scores higher in responsibility and relationship building. Play up your sales team’s strengths and their desire to make a difference by pairing reps up with more veteran sales associates.

When managing millennials you want to instill a sense of mentorship. This will also ensure they have the training they need to become successful in their work and will create a sense of pride for more the established members of your team. 

3. Build on a culture of collaboration

Millennials have single-handedly fueled the sharing economy with the rise of companies like Airbnb and Uber, but are looking to share more than just their rides and homes. Millennials are great collaborators and are looking to contribute ideas in a collaborative, not competitive, work environment.

Collaboration in teams breeds innovation and fuels a sense of community. Breed a collaborative work environment by ensuring that your team is building relationships with one another.

Additionally, use their collaborative mentality by encouraging team members to brainstorm new ideas and strategies.

4. Create flexibility when managing millennials in the workforce

Most millennials would trade financial perks for a high-quality working environment. Build the ideal work culture by emphasizing a work-life balance and flexibility.

A study from Forbes noted that 77% of millennials say flexible work hours are a key to boosting productivity. With that in mind, think about how you can incorporate flexibility into your team’s schedule to maximize their productivity and output.

5. Structure incentives and promotions

Millennials in the workforce are flight risks, with 38% actively looking to switch roles. Additionally, 43% of millennials are open to offers at any given time. Maximize their retention by resonating with the millennial mindset. Also, recruitment and retention should focus on reinforcing that leaving the company would be a mistake.

Be clear about expectations by setting your sales organization around promotion pathing. Set numerical goals and a predetermined timeline so your team can feel motivated to “graduate” and up-level their skills. Create promotion pathways around job type, segments, or seniority. Again we jump into a sales team example, particularly helpful when managing SDRs:

Job type: SDR → Account Executive → Sales Manager
Segments: SMB → Mid-market → Enterprise
Seniority: Junior → Senior

A clear path for professional growth will build momentum and energy in your millennial team. Simultaneously it will increase their likelihood to stay at your company.

Managing millennials: Millennials are the most well educated generation

6. Institutionalize learning and coaching

As the most highly educated generation in history, millennials in the workforce always have a thirst to be better and learn. When managing millennials in the workplace are sure to emphasize continuous growth. Millennials appreciate a continued education and training so look to institutionalize learning in your organization.

Attract top talent in your organization by establishing a clear training program. Additionally, even after your team is onboard, encourage your team’s personal and professional development with activities. For example, you could set up mentorship in your organization, pay for a free lunch with a thought leader, or read a book together as an organization.

Also, be sure to give your millennials team the opportunity to work with other departments cross-functionally to not only further their own learning and skills but to elevate your entire organization.

7. Encourage friendships


“Detached from Institutions, Networked with Friends.” – Pew Research


Lastly, millennials in the workplace look to co-workers for friendship rather than as competition. Spend time on developing a cohesive and friendly team. For example, plan lunch outings to ensure team members have time to build relationships and connections.

How do you coach a happy team? Is there anything we missed? Tweet us your thoughts at @crunchbase.

 


Sources:

Goldman Sachs: Millennials Coming of Age
Sales Xceleration: About Millennial Sales Reps
Erin Engstrom, Recruiterbox: The Ideal Millennial Work Environment
Max Altschuler, Salesforce Quotable: How to Build a Sales Organization Where Millennials Will Thrive
PWC: Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace in financial services
Marc Wayshak, Entreprenuer.com: 7 Must-Know Tips for Managing Your Millennial Sales Team
Joel Goldstein, Business 2 Community: Why Millennials Prefer Collaboration Over Competition