The Truth about Managing Millennials

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Business experts often speak of how to “deal with” and “manage the challenges” created by Millennials. In an article for Business Insider, Susanne Goldstein even claimed Millennials aren’t ready to face real challenges. However, the realities of working with Generation Y may surprise you.

They are Epic Multi-Taskers

More than previous generations, Millennials are effective multi-taskers who do not make clear distinctions between “work” time and “personal” time, according to George Bradt of Forbes. Instead, they efficiently prioritize tasks in a way that boosts productivity. Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., of Quint Careers encourages employers to offer more flexible working schedules and recognize output rather than hours at a desk to get the most from Millennial employees.

They Personally Invest in Outcomes

Millennials respect both the group and the individual; they view the group as being made up of individuals, not generational stereotypes. Products of global culture and Baby Boomers’ passion for activism, they want to contribute to something greater than themselves, says Karl Moore of Forbes. Millennials strive for inclusion and expect leaders to behave like leaders rather than need-to-know “bosses.”

Some executives like Carlson Chief Organizational Officer David Berg are harnessing this. His reverse mentoring program encourages Millennial employees to help him understand hotel guests of the future. This is a unique way to drive innovation, something all executives with an MBA learn to value.

They Are Results-Oriented

Although the era of social media has greatly increased Millennials’ expectations of instant feedback, they don’t necessarily want their egos stroked. With more college students declaring themselves “gifted,” according to an American Freshman Survey cited in Forbes, most millennials already have healthy self-esteems. What they’re looking for isn’t a confidence booster but feedback for its ability to increase the speed of development and progress.

“I work best with this cycle of prototyping, getting feedback, and repeating,” explained Emily Disston, a Millennial working as the human resources director for BetterCloud. “I like to work independently, but I also want to check in to make sure I’m on track.”

Ms. Disston recommends managers serve as coaches rather than directors. Writing for Muse, she suggests scheduling regular brainstorming and feedback sessions for young employees.

Millennials are like no generation that’s come before, but that doesn’t mean working with them will be a negative experience. Understanding what makes young employees unique and what they need to thrive will help you get the most from them.


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