Now accounting for the largest share of the labor market and set to comprise 46% of the workforce by 2020, millennials offer a massive resource for uncovering innovative business solutions in the face of unprecedented transformative change in the workforce.
Millennials are trusting, optimistic, ambitious, collaborative, and, crucially, tech-savvy—digital natives who can absorb a ton of data. According to a study by PwC, 59% said that an employers’ provision of the state-of-the-art technology was important to them when considering a job, and 78% said that access to the technology they like to use makes them more effective at work.
Harnessing those talents, especially millennials’ tech savviness, can help organizations to succeed in a challenging labor market. The challenge for millennials’ managers, however, is to find ways of unlocking their full workplace potential. In its 2016 “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” report, Gallup found that only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, with the remaining 71% either not engaged or actively disengaged. The best way managers can keep them engaged is by inspiring them. Inspiration will encourage them to bring the full force of their talents to bear for your org.
The Ken Blanchard Companies recently conducted a survey of millennials and found five key things that managers should do to inspire them in the workplace:
1. Trust and empower them
Creating an environment built on respect can help managers to establish mutual trust with millennial employees. Weekly one-on-ones with new millennial employees to discuss questions and concerns around performance and address possible solutions can help motivate them and feel empowered to improve and perform to the best of their abilities. Millennials are also keen to offer ideas in the spirit of improvement. It’s about empowering them to achieve goals but in their own way.
2. Provide regular feedback, both positive and corrective
Millennials want to know how they’re doing and how to improve at their job. Offering regular constructive feedback is important because it makes them feel valued and demonstrates respect for them as a person—they want coaching that helps them to grow and feel engaged. Constructive feedback can turn criticism into a powerful learning moment. Managers should look at mistakes as a normal part of learning and work to help millennials learn from their mistakes.
3. Make sure goals and expectations are clearly stated, and then hold people accountable for achieving outcomes
Providing millennials with clear goals and expectations will help them to take ownership over projects and be invested in them. Connecting goals to their values will also help them feel like their work is meaningful and has a larger purpose.
4. Be open to hearing new ideas and input
Managers should listen carefully to millennials and be open to new perspectives they offer. It will help them to feel valued. For example, by asking millennials for their ideas around how to improve performance, managers can highly motivate them. They’re also keen to learn on the job. According to Gallup, 87% of millennials say development is important in a job. In its 2016 “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” report also revealed that the opportunity to learn and grow is what they look for most in a new job opportunity. Millennials want information and ideas to flow in all directions so teams can effectively problem-solve and improve performance. That’s what makes them feel proud.
5. Don’t micromanage them
Micromanaging can make millennials feel insecure in their job and hesitant to use their skills. They prefer authority that’s relaxed, polite, and treats them with respect. They want the freedom to achieve goals in their own way. Managers who micromanage run the risk of shutting down their creativity and ability to innovate, and losing their respect. Managers should help them to learn and be innovative while providing them the space to do it their way.