How to Connect With Your Millennial Workforce

Millennials want feedback relative to their performance in their role – and they want it now. In fact, we've validated that the performance of all types of employees is most positively impacted by immediate feedback recognition soon after that performance occurs. If we've heard it once, we've heard it a thousand times: “This younger generation doesn't want to work.” Buy maybe, just maybe, they actually do. This mysterious Millennial generation (to people older than them) is n pace to be the most educated generation to date. So, why all the fuss? Could it be, as leaders and managers of this aspirational generation, we are coming up short? The data would suggest the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Here are a few tips that would go a long way in becoming more effective working with and managing the Millennial workforce.

Invest in Them

A recent Harvard Business Review study showed that Millennials, more so than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, rate the opportunity to improve and advance as the highest consideration to join or stay with an organization. These include your future leaders. Get together and collaborate as a resource for their development – both your organization your own success may depend on it!

Manager Attributes Are Key

Did you know that more positive and effective management practices lead to higher retention and improved morale? However, more than four decades of our own research shows that employees continue to identify only 10% of the managers they’ve worked for as high performing. If the alarm bells aren’t going off yet, let us help: It’s time for you to evaluate the quality of your managers.

Let’s take pause for a moment and think about those mangers in the top 10%. I bet you can quickly identify “that” manager within your company in a matter of seconds – the one employees wan to work for. The one who consistently meets or exceeds the expected results. The one you wish you could clone. Whether you know it or not, it’s likely that personal has developed capabilities required to manage more effectively than others – and it’s also likely that they follow a proven system, one that can be repeated by all managers.

Regardless of any generational differences, if employees are motivated to manage, you can help them obtain the necessary capabilities to ultimately be successful in their role.

Quite frankly, as their leader, it’s incumbent on you to strengthen the bench with future managers and leaders of the organization. Still on the fence as to whether or no you should invest in your mangers’ development? Here’s supporting data that has to catch your eye: According to best-selling author and workplace well-being expert Michelle McQuaid, “better managers can save businesses $360 billion annually in productivity.” How much of that $360 billion might have your company’s name on it?

Offer Real-Time Feedback

Employees from all generations want feedback, but based upon their natural temperament, they may not ask for it. Further to that, today we roam the planet with answers as close as the nearest cell phone – and yet most organizations still subscribe to only the archaic annual performance review to provide rich employee feedback.

As with all employees, Millennials want feedback relative to their performance in their role – and they want it now. In fact, we’ve validated that the performance of all type of employees is most positively impacted by immediate feedback recognition soon after that performance occurs.

Are you r managers prepared to offer effective feedback? Do they subscribe to a practical and proven talent management process? Are they practicing sound management fundamentals? And, by the way, who is offering the managers such performance feedback when it occurs?

By 2020, it’s estimated that the Millennial generation will comprise more than 50% of the workforce. They are educated. They are connected. They want to improve, grow, and enjoy work they are passionate about. Equally important, they want to work for an effective manager and viable business with a future where both can increasingly win going forward. As business people, shouldn’t we all read that and say, “Wow, what an unbelievable opportunity?”

As a proud father of four Millennials, I for one can tell you they have high expectations for themselves and for the organizations they work for. Heck, why shouldn’t they? Isn’t that what we want from all employees at all levels?

The landscape is changing – and Millennials are significantly shaping it. Is your organization capitalizing on this existing opportunity right now?


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