Do you really need different management strategies for different generations in the workplace? Millennials may have very different motivational requirements than their Baby Boomer or Gen X counterparts. In fact, the top three issues for younger employees are digital engagement, personal growth, and collaboration. While there are some similarities, it is always helpful to better understand the minds of your team as you work to encourage and engage them. Here are some things to consider.
- Transparency in management. No one, even older employees, likes to be kept in the dark about management decisions. These decisions affect their everyday environment, so they just want to be informed. Secrets or too much confidential information will create discontent in the workplace. Instead, a culture where ideas are freely shared between management and employees is attractive to millennial staff. When you share, they’ll feel more invested in the overall corporate vision.
- Invest in career development. Millennials, even more Boomers, feel restless if they aren’t being challenged. It doesn’t take as much for them to feel stagnant and stifled if they’re not advancing. Even worse, is they are more likely to do something about it if they’re restless. As a manager, you want to encourage continued learning and promotions in line with their career goals. This doesn’t mean you have to promote them before they’re ready, but let them see the complete job advancement picture so they know what they’re working toward.
- Positive reinforcement and rewards. This is true across the generational gaps. All of your employees want to feel like their contributions are appreciated. The big difference is the actual rewards that motivate each group of employees. The best thing you can do as a manager is determine what each team member is best motivated by and tailor the rewards program to better take advantage of their natural drive to perform at the top of their game.
- Create community. Collaboration and teamwork has never been as important in the workplace as it is with millennials. They were raised in an environment where this was the cultural norm, so they are expecting it in the workplace. And companies are learning the benefits of working this way. Your millennial employees want to feel like they belong to a larger picture, so give them the environment that will encourage innovation and creative thinking.