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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Five Steps to Understanding the Millennial Workforce

Did you know that by the year 2025, almost 75% of the workforce will be Millennials?

Do you know how to adapt to the change? Do you want to learn how to have a successful employer/employee relationship with them?

One of the most popular requests for my salon coaching is how to manage different generations of employees. Depending on your business, you might have several Generation Xers, a few Gen Yers, and maybe some Boomers, too.  Running a business that is, in this regard, “multi-generational” requires a bit of research and a healthy dose of flexibility.  The first thing you need to do is understand the hard-wiring of each generation’s brain. Each group has been raised differently and entered the workforce at different times in the last few decades, so most likely these individuals have different styles when it comes to how they comprehend and carry out their jobs and personal responsibilities each day.

The biggest group in question is Millennials, officially defined these days as those born between 1980 and 2000. So how do you work with Millennials so that both of you will succeed?  First, let’s all stop being so negative about them! They really aren’t as self-centered and entitled as you may think, have some incredible stuff figured out which we Generation Xers can learn a lot from. 

1: They want a team-focused approach not a level-up system
2: They want a good work/life balance
3: They want a path to success that they help create
4: They want clear expectations
5: They want transparency 

1: Team-Focused Approach
Instead of being raised by parents who harbored expectations about them becoming doctors or lawyers, Millennials have been raised to do and be who they want. “Be you!” “Create something!” “Enjoy life!” “Step out of the box!” All of these phrases define amazing—and potentially positive--attributes, but it's hard to handle as an employer if you're a ladder climber. Millennials want to be part of the bigger picture; they don't necessarily want to BE the picture. If you give them the chance, your team will step out of the box and create amazing revenue-boosting ideas for your business. 

2: Work/Life Balance
Millennials crave compensation that is not “just” a salary. Offering a $40,000 annual salary with a two-week vacation package isn't enough anymore.  Millennials would prefer a $30,000 salary with flexible hours, business-provided lunch, stock options, flexible time-off terms, and a creative workspace, etc... If an employee wants to take a half day to go to their nephew’s pre-school graduation, give it to them! Who’s to say that such an event isn’t important to that employee? I call this a “working retirement,” where you enjoy life to the fullest before you’re retired. Your reward will be increased loyalty and most likely, a more cooperative attitude next time an extra-hours-needed deadline looms. If you want to learn more about creating a culture of "Working Retirement," email me to schedule your first 2018 Business Breakthrough Session.

3: Team-Built Path to Success
Millennials want to be part of your company’s strategic planning sessions. They want to help set goals for the company and help build their own paths to success at the same time. Imagine how you would feel if you were told that you had to hit goals and follow plans that other people created for you. As business owners, we need to realize that although our business plan is what got us started, we cannot claim to be “the end all be all.” We have a lot to learn from our younger staff. 

4: Clear Expectations
Our younger employees want to have a seat at the drawing table. They want to help set their own goals and their own expectations within your company. Allowing them to tell you what they think their job description should be will help you understand more of where they are coming from; and in the end, if they decide that they're not going to follow the description’s stated expectations—which they helped create--you can firmly but politely say, "Well, people, you wrote them..." Urge them to give constructive feedback to the entire staff as well as to themselves. Using self-generated feedback and self-generated expectation building hugely increases the chances that your staff will respond positively to the process, which will help them—and you—grow.

5: Transparency
Millennials like to know what makes their company “tick,” why things are done a certain way, and how they can be part of the recipe for success. How much money did your business generate last month? What are the company’s future plans for expansion, relocation, etc.? And believe it or not, Millennials want to know what their coworkers’ job descriptions look like. The reason why is part admirable, part self-serving.  They want to know so they can figure out every detail of how everyone in the company “fits together” so they can decide if this is where they want to spend their time building a career. It's better for you to know right off the bat if someone isn't “meant to be” with your company so that you don't spend your valuable time, energy, and resources investing in them. 

Need help? Reach out, jordan@makingitawesome.com

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