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How To Manage Millennials: A Guide For Baby Boomer Managers

How to Manage Millennials in the WorkplaceHow to manage Millennials? That is the question? Because by 2025, a whopping 75% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials.

This means, in just a few years your office will be in the hands of people that are “the most populous, educated, and diverse generation in American history” but also think that eating Tide pods and putting it online is a good idea. For all of the baby boomers out there, this blog post is for you.

As a manager, are you ready to supervise the generation the Internet most love to hate?

This post is inspired by two of our previous webinar speakers; Walt Brown’s as he dove in how to build trust and loyalty within your organization, and Cindy Anderson as she shared on leadership traits needed for long term success. Both of these wonderful speakers hit on the topic of training and leading this most recent generation in our work force, so we thought we’d dissect their excellent action steps and perspectives here on the blog today.

How To Manage Millennials When You’re From The Baby Boomer Generation

How to manage millennials by leadingStop Managing And Start Leading.

Micromanagement is the worst possible thing you can do when it comes to how to manage millennials.

As a generation raised on surveillance-esque attention, endless encouragement, and a happiness first mantra by their helicopter parents, having a because-I-said-so management style is sure to make them hand their two week’s notice.

Simply put, they’ve been micromanaged all their lives, and they’ve just had enough of it. For 88% of millennials, work should be fun and social. Also, really, having your every move scrutinized from 9-to-5 is no one’s idea of fun.

Millennials also grew up in an age where information is readily available. A quick Google search is all it takes for them to challenge your because-I-said-so. And with their unshakeable self-esteem, they wouldn’t hesitate to come up to you and let you know.

Baby boomers often misinterpret their boldness as being entitled, but as Cindy Anderson, founder of Thinc Strategy said in her webinar about Essential Leadership Skills Needed For Long-Term Success, good leaders always listen to their team members.

“Good leaders encourage a culture where every team member’s ideas are heard and valued,” says Cindy, who’s taught over 140 businesses how to manage millennials and increase their corporate value. “They’re open and imaginative, and they encourage those traits in their employees.”

She recommends always asking them questions about their ideas along with a set of actions such as milestones and timelines for them to achieve the best results.

How to manage millennials with constant feedback

How To Manage Millennials: Don’t Hold Back On The Feedback

Just as fairies need applause to live, millennials need constant feedback from their managers.

Before you stereotype them as self-absorbed-attention-seeking-narcissists, remember that millennials grew up with the Internet and social media, where instant feedback is the norm. In fact, for better or worse, it’s expected.

In a recent survey, 85% of millennials prefer to have regular performance conversations with their manager. With 32% saying that the more frequent the check-ins, the better. So how do you manage millennials? Check in with them regularly.

Your role as a manager then is not to confuse feedback and praise. Feedback is constructive with and comes with a set of actionable goals, while praise is feel good and motivational.

The good news is, millennials want to deliver optimal results. All you need to do is to provide them with frequent and quality feedback that allows them to do just that.

How to manage millennials with mentorshipHow To Manage Millennials: Mentorship Or Bust

While the Internet has provided millennials more access to resources when it comes to learning than generations before them, they still lack what baby boomers have plenty of – experience.

According to an annual millennial survey, Gen Y still feels they are unprepared for the challenges of a rapidly changing business industry. Which explains why they are more attracted to companies with strong mentorship programs.

Millennials, overachievers that they are, prioritize their professional growth. So they tend to stay longer with companies that don’t only develop their existing skills but also help them acquire the “soft” skills they need to succeed in their career.

Millennial Myth: Millennials Are Unstable Job Hoppers, Right? Wrong.

If you’re wondering if a generation notoriously known for job-hopping is worth mentoring, just know that Sun Microsystem’s mentorship program increased retention rates for both mentors (69%) and mentees (72%) saving the company $6.7 million from replacement costs.

How to manage millennials through mentorship: what does this really look like? Mentorship programs don’t have to be too formal. In Johnson & Johnson, for example, managers are encouraged to have five-minute micro-mentorship with their team. While AT&T uses what they call leadership circles, which is group mentoring using an online platform.

Of course, mentorship isn’t just a top-down process. Baby boomers can also gain new skills from millennials through reverse mentoring programs.

How To Manage Millennials: Your New Tech Wizardry Team

Whether your hire has an obsession with Harry Potter is a null point on this one. While Millennials may have some unusual hobbies like playing 11 hour card games pretending to be wizards; there’s no joking when it comes to how helpful millennials can be when it comes to new technology, cell phone apps and other new software hitting the market. So while managers can impart the necessary skills for youngbloods to map out their career track, millennials can teach them how to use social media as a networking tool, how to convert PDF into a Word document, and why they shouldn’t click emails from a Nigerian prince to avoid CEO fraud.

Leveling The Playing Field: We All Have Something To Give

What makes reverse mentoring work is that, both mentor and mentee are mutually benefiting from each other’s professional strengths and niche skills through knowledge-sharing.

Not to mention how it closes the generational gap between baby boomers and millennials, creating an environment which encourages collaboration resulting in increased productivity.

If you want to know more about how to manage millennials through mentoring, you can check out Stan Kimer’s Invest in your People! Employee Career Management and Skills Development webinar. Which covers compelling business rational for investing in talent development as well as an introduction to mentoring.

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