How to manage millenials: 9 tips

Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) have “plenty to say… and the rest of us have plenty to listen to.” Three quarters of the working population will be Generation Y in the next decade. So how do you manage the “entitled” generation? IESE Professor Guido Stein and co-authors share 9 tips.

1. Let them learn and develop.

  • Give them opportunities to develop new skills.
  • Assign them new or different projects to hold their attention, while giving them a sense that they are “leveling-up” to more responsibilities and challenges.

2. Commit to work-life balance.

As long as their work is high quality, allow them some flexibility and autonomy in how they carry it out. Focus on results and show that you value all aspects of their lives outside of the office.

3. Broaden your definition of compensation.

  • Allow for some “customization” of compensation packages to include perks such as additional days off, flexible hours, telecommuting, discounts or cafeteria coupons.
  • Keep in mind that giving them opportunities to be in contact with interesting people and dynamic experiences is a non-monetary way to reward them.
  • Show appreciation for a job well done by inviting them to an informal event with top executives, or a management committee meeting.

4. Actively work on retention.

  • Have frequent career conversations to ensure that they have a clear sense of purpose on the job.
  • Check in to see if they are satisfied with their personal work/life balance and make sure they believe they are working toward bigger career goals.
  • Show appreciation for a job well done by inviting them to an informal event with top executives, or a management committee meeting.

5. Be a mentor, not a boss.

  • Don’t try to wield your authority or lean on your place in the hierarchy to gain their respect. Instead, explain the advantages and prestige that come with experience and consistent actions over time.
  • Teach, don’t preach, and be approachable.

6. Create a strong company culture.

  • Make sure the values of your organization are clearly defined and truly guide decision-making.
  • Emphasize that because they are contributing to the underlying purpose of your organization, they are also contributing to the world at large.

7. Recognize their need for… recognition.

  • Don’t be stingy with praise.
  • Provide forums for peers to praise each other’s work as well.

8. Take advantage of their social media savvy.

Identify the social leaders in your organization who naturally build images and stories from their own lives and turn them into “brand ambassadors,” who represent your company on social media or who participate in internal social-marketing strategy groups.

9. Don’t disconnect the digital natives.

  • Don’t forbid or hinder the use of technology and social media during work hours.
  • Encourage them to build upon their tech and social media competencies. Then they can engage in reverse-mentoring so that all your employees can benefit.

IESE’s Executive Education programs which cover a wide range of formats and topics, will help you improve your leadership skills to manage the millennials generation and become the best leader for your team and your company.

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