Generation Y in Today’s Workplace

May 19th, 2016

There’s no getting around it: Millennials are integral to the modern workplace, and with each year that passes, more members of the generation born after 1980 flood into the offices and factories of the adult world. This much-maligned and much-celebrated generation is getting older, for sure; the first are now entering their late 30s. But new arrivals are constantly appearing, and “digital natives” and the children of helicopter parents are now the new normal in most workplaces.

So if you’re managing a team of millennials, what can you do to keep them happy and productive? Keep these considerations in mind.

Know what they want and need.

In order to keep your employees onboard and reward your top performers, you’ll have to provide the basic compensation they need and the special bonuses they’re willing to reach for. Which means you’ll have to find out what these things are. The best method is to ask them. But if you’re managing a large team, some broad strokes and general assumptions can help. For example, members of this generation tend to value time as much as (or even more than) money. So consider providing schedule flexibility and more time off for high performers.

Let them connect to the company network.

Millennials typically come with devices, since they were born with cell phones and tablets in their hands. Allow them to connect their devices to the company network, and set clear boundaries and rules regarding connectivity and response times. For example, do you expect them to close down or stay connected during weekends and vacations?

Push them a little.

Millennial employees are not known for their willingness to step outside of their comfort zones. Since the dawn of time, workers in their 20s have always been optimistic, ambitious, long on idealism and short on experience. In earlier generations, this often made them bold (sometimes even foolish) risk takers and cheerful mistake makers. But modern millennials are historically concerned about messing up and incurring the disapproval of their supervisors, so take this into account. Give them room to stumble, fail and grow. If you crowd them too much, they’re not likely to push back. But if you nudge them toward independence, they may astonish you with their youthful and innovative decisions and ideas.

For more on how to work with millennials and encourage them to thrive under your supervision, reach out to the Belmont staffing team at PSU.

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