Understanding Millennial Employees

New supervisors often struggle to effectively manage millennials.

We often hear complaints about not willing to pay their dues, being naïve, and not being loyal to their companies.

Who are these so-called millennials? In numbers, they are those born after 1979 and they are the fastest growing sector of the workforce. In personality and work style they bring new strengths and different challenges to those who manage them.

In order to be able to adjust your management style as a new manager to this younger generation and meet their needs, you first need to understand where they are coming from. In general, remember that most millennials are:
  • Higher Maintenance. Though highly educated, they are the products of overly watchful parents. They thrive in a learning environment and yet seem to require constant feedback and positive coaching.
  • Means to an End. As the generation most comfortable with social networking, millennials are used to balancing multiple relationships and are, as a result, good at working on teams. However, their reliance on family and friends may trump their dedication to a job and they may see their work more as a means to earning a living rather than meaningful in and of itself.
  • Hyper Sensitive. Though, from their time spent playing screen games, they are good at competing and setting goals, this generation can also be hypersensitive. They have been so used to general praise (often unearned) that they can crack when challenged. Even with rather fragile egos, however, they are not shy about questioning authority.
Taking into account these attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses, you can now adjust your management style to most effectively lead the millennial generation.