AAEAAQAAAAAAAAiaAAAAJGRhYTM5ZTQ1LThkY2UtNDBlYS1iZGQ5LWI2OTUwNzU2MjkxOAIt is estimated that by 2020, millennials will make up nearly 75% of the workforce. With this comes a completely different set of values, hopes and ideas that drive them towards success. This means that organizations need to know how to effectively work with the millennial generation in a hurry so that they can build an environment that breeds success for the future generations.

As an Executive Coach and Trainer, I consult to companies who want to create a corporate culture that supports the work expectations of the millennial generation. The first thing I tell them is to include coaching in their processes. According to an article in Forbes magazine many millennials seek entrepreneurship as a future goal, however if they have to work for a boss, 79% want that boss to serve as a coach or a mentor.

Additionally, a study of millennial employees conducted by Governance Studies found that this demographic defines themselves as a generation most focused on corporate empathy and social responsibility. This means that they seek out employers who believed in backing social causes and issues and have the best interests of their employees and the global community in mind.

While many top business executives are part of the more fastidious Gen X group, in order to be successful in their role as a leader, they need to understand and embrace the differences of their successors in order to create a workplace that is effective and where employees feel valued.  With that in mind, here are several things to consider when working with the millennial generation.

  • Create a structured environment – Set clear expectations regarding performance. Millennials can be free thinkers, but when provided rational clearly defined structure and rules they can thrive within set boundaries. As a leader, it is important to be fair and consistent about these expectations. Talk about development, not just a monthly or annual conversation; its  a conversation thats integrated into every discussion you have. Millennials want to know that they are learning and growing through each experience. They view development as a top priority and, as such, view feedback as constant. It should be given at all times, regardless of whether it is positive, constructive or neutral in tone. They don’t just want to be told what to do, they want to engage in meaningful conversations and get feedback and give feedback.

Make development a priority with millennials; integrate developmental topics – strengths and areas for growth into regular conversations. Don’t just view feedback as a one-way discussion,  engage in a two-way conversation, asking questions to drive meaningful understanding.

  • Offer effective guidance and leadership -As noted above, millennials want to be coached.  They look up their predecessors and hope to learn from them. They also desire a leader they can look up to, who values them as a team member and lets them know how important they are to the overall success of you organization.  Managers with coaching skills, who listen to their teams, connect one-on-one, clarify expectations and drive results through accountability can deliver high-quality management for their millennial team members.

Think about your strengths as a leader and use those strengths to coach millennials to bring forward their leadership to support company growth. 

  • Work must be meaningful- Recent Gallup data suggests meaning is more important than money. Millennials want to know that the work they do will have a real impact on the people around them, on society as a whole and on the betterment of the world. They must be interested in the work they do and know that it is contributing to the larger organization’s mission and vision. Millennials want to know that the work that they do matters.

When delegating responsibilities and talking about specific performance areas, link the responsibility or performance issue to its contribution to the larger goal or mission for the organization.

  • Encourage their unique talents – Millennials are defined by an “I got this” attitude.  They are ready to conquer whatever obstacles are in front of them. Encourage them to use their unique talents and “go-getter personalities” to soar (within your predetermined expectations). The millennial generation offers a unique spark to today’s business environment. They are not afraid to stand up for what they believe is right and they seek a management perspective that supports their growth and utilizes their gifts for the betterment of the entire organization.

Encourage millennials to share their unique talents and give acknowledgment where it is due. 

  • Allow collaboration – Teamwork has been part of how the millennial generation grew up. They are a generation that was inundated with youth sports and classroom settings that were far more collaborative than the rowed desk/lecture formats that were often a part of Gen X’s youth. The millennial generation typically thrives when working with others towards a common end goal.  The millennial generation is smart and driven. They have been programmed for success and they often have set their own path to reach their goals. Ask them how they plan to accomplish these goals and then support them in those efforts.

Identify the talents of your team members and create opportunities for them to be at their best in a team environment.

  • Boss as  Coach/Mentor- Millennials don’t need a formal boss. They want a manager who will be their mentor, coach and partner in helping them by supporting their development. Millennials want an advocate, someone who can be a champion for their ideas and create ways for them to be involved. They want a manager who can inspire inspire them by setting high goals, talking about future possibilities and openly sharing the leadership potential they see in them. Millennials want a leader who will empower them to make decisions and take risks.

Identify what each individual needs in terms of feedback and regular conversations from their manager. 

At ALCN, we have been fortunate to work with organizations across the globe to help them build an internal coaching culture that develops the next generation of team members. If you would like more information on how to coach millennials within your organizational team, please feel free to contact us!

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