Millennial Management 101

Last year, we (the Millennials – born between 1980 and 1995) became the largest cohort, making up almost 37% of the Canadian workforce, according to Statistics Canada. The tipping point has come and gone, but what lessons have employers learned so far?

As an HR leader that’s also a Millennial, I’m often the “youngest grasshopper” in the executive boardroom, but that doesn’t stop me from proposing modern solutions to my c-suite leaders to prevent the detriments of today’s failed employee performance, engagement and retention programs. After all, We are an exceptional generation that’s capable of solving complex issues by using the wealth of technology around us with more efficiency and effectiveness than the generations before us. Our untapped potential can be easily missed by business leaders who do not invest in or understand us.

Imagine HR is built by Millennials for Millennials. We are incredibly proud to work with our clients and industry partners who share our belief that businesses must adapt and work towards understanding, accepting, and partnering with Millennials in order stay relevant and compete in today’s markets. To help get you on the right track with a clearer outlook, we want to tell you the other side of the story, so let’s take a closer look at these common management misconceptions about Millennials in the corporate workplace.

Millennials are entitled and difficult to manage.

They want to move up too quickly.

Yes – some of us are eager to move up, but that’s because we are fast learners with the help of technology and exceptional research skills. We know how to leverage internet search engines, online communities and forums better than our predecessors, which is why we want on-the-job learning rather than wait for attrition to take its course before we can start enriching ourselves with more expertise.

On the opposite end of this complaint is that we are the most disengaged generation in the workplace. A US study by Gallup revealed that Millennials have a serious engagement issue, as majority of us are not emotionally and behaviorally connected to our jobs and companies:

  • 55% are Not Engaged
  • 29% are Engaged
  • 16% are Actively Disengaged

Here’s the truth – whether it’s an over-eagerness to rise in the ranks or being “checked out” of the workplace, these are emotional and behavior issues largely due to poor management techniques. The fact of the matter is that we are the first generation that’s raised with a combination of early social media exposure, addictive consumption of digital media and behavioural reliance on instant gratification. Management is a two way street, so you must understand who you are managing before you take the helm and push forth.

They want more vacation time than they deserve.

Yes – many of us are entrenched in the YOLO (You Only Live Once) and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) lifestyle. This is largely because we believe that experiencing life is just as important as working hard. Many of us who haven’t started families of our own yet live by the motto to “work hard and play hard(er).” Our disposable income is often saved for or spent on shared experiences (including traveling, eating out, and other social activities.) We want to be respected for prioritizing work-life balance and life satisfaction. For having these values, we are often shamed by older coworkers or management for taking unpaid time off, especially when we don’t have kids. We believe that the number of vacation days we receive shouldn’t be granted based on service length, because everyone needs a break from work. This is why traditional vacation models that require lengthy years of service don’t retain us.

They want to be paid more than they deserve.

Yes – we believe that pay-for-performance is more motivational and effective than pay-for experience. After all, studies have shown that less than half of us have enough money to live the life we want. We need incentive-based performance programs that match our instant gratification needs as well as our long term career aspirations. If cost-benefit lines up and we have motivating and engaging leaders, we become deeply loyal and more than capable of reaching defined goals.

They are disrespectful of authority and the corporate hierarchy.

Yes – we tend to question authority, but it’s for the sake of understanding, not contempt. We want more insights to decision-making, so we can derive value from our work. We look for every chance to optimize existing processes so we waste less time and effort. We’re all on the same team, and you shouldn’t feel threatened by our curious nature. We embrace flattened reporting structures because it promotes teamwork, brainstorming, partnered mentorships and “real” open door practices. We want leaders that roll-up-the-sleeves rather than order us around as authoritarian commanders. We respect leaders that listen to our needs, empower us and grant us autonomy in good faith.

Create a Millennial-friendly Workplace with Imagine HR. We are here to help!

We are excited to launch our Millennial Management Training Program. It’s different from any executive leadership program or management program out there, because its created by Millennials for Millennials. We want to help your organization build a Millennial-friendly workplace that embraces the future of talent management. We will partner with you to evaluate the effectiveness of your performance and compensation programs, as well as refine your company culture and employee perks to be on target. We will assess your employee engagement and team building functions to ensure you’re doing everything you can to retain today and tomorrow’s talent.