Successfully Managing Millennials in the Workplace

Submitted by Jared Geers, Regional Trainer, Towne Park

Successfully Managing Millennials in the Workplace- 5 Myths Debunked

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past several years, you’ve probably heard all the talk about the millennial generation and there’s a good reason why. In 2015, millennials surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the United States workforce. At Towne Park, where millennials comprise about seventy-five percent of our associates, workforce generational training was rolled out in 2015 to district managers and since that training effort was expanded to account managers and people departments in 2016. Having made a concerted effort to study this pertinent topic outside of Towne Park, a few months ago, I came across a webinar sponsored by the Association of Talent Development entitled “The 14 Myths of Millennials” The presenter, Bruce Tulgan, is an author, consultant and founder of Rainmaker Thinking. † The webinar was quite impactful not only because Bruce is a phenomenal speaker, but these debunked myths strongly reinforced many of the concepts that I had previously learned about the millennial generation. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight and paraphrase five of those myths, which will lead anyone who manages millennials to better understand these important concepts and apply them to their daily leadership.

  1. Millennials don’t place as much importance on pay as other generations.

This is only partly true. Companies have to pay millennials competitively, but here are some other non-financial motivating factors that will attract and retain this generation.

  • Flexibility with their schedule
  • Relationships at work (“Who am I going to be working with? Who am I going to be working for?”)
  • Task Choice (“what do I need to do to earn a more interesting task project?”)
  • Opportunity to learn Soft Skills such as interpersonal communication, workplace etiquette, etc.
  • Location and Workspace
  1. Millennials won’t do the grunt work.

This is not true. Millennials will do the grunt work as long as they know someone’s keeping track and they’re receiving credit. They want to be recognized for their contributions early on and be able to see a path for professional growth and career advancement. Managers should make a point to regularly thank them for their contributions and provide feedback- positive and constructive.

  1. Millennials want lots of attention.

Not Exactly. Millennials want lots of feedback, support, coaching. They need strong leaders who will spend time teaching them how to do their work very well. Imagine your Millennial associates saying to you “Hey- this is your place of business. Show me how you want it done. You’re supposed to be setting me up for success- provide me with direction, support, training, feedback and coaching […more on this in next month’s blog].

  1. Millennials…The generation where everyone gets a participation ribbon.

It’s no secret that in the world of business, success is measured by results. Accompanying the practice of frequent feedback, setting standards and a system of recognizing high performers is just as important. There’s no exception here with the millennial generation. Managers should make it a practice to grant rewards for jobs well done and push rewards away from those that are not earning them. Millennials will gravitate toward performance behavior that allows them to realize the rewards.

  1. You can’t turn Millennials into long-term employees.

Not True- You can turn millennials into long-term employees, but you have to do it one day at a time. They are going to become long term employees by deciding over and over and over again that “I’m not quite ready to leave just yet.” When they make those seemingly unreasonable requests, they are answering the question “What do I have to do to keep you around?” If they say “I’d like to not work on Thursdays”, Managers would benefit to find a way to make it happen as this is a unique value proposition which more valuable to that person than its overall value in the marketplace.

In next month’s blog, I’ll address the theme of coaching and feedback. We’ll take a look at how leaders and managers can use the 5-Step Coaching Method to effectively foster increased performance with all associates, not just millennials.

For more information on Bruce Tulgan’s research and to check out his several books on millennials and leadership, visit rainmakerthinging.com.

Jared Geers

Jared Geers, C.H.S.

Regional Trainer, Towne Park

Jared is a “first-wave millennial” and experienced hospitality professional with time spent in guest service, operations management, and learning and development. Some of his clients have included Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, Gaylord Opryland, Omni Hotels and Resorts, Destination Hotels and Resorts and UT Health System in the healthcare sector. Jared is fanatical about equipping leaders with knowledge, methods and skills that result in stronger leadership, higher associate engagement and maximum achievement of desired results. Jared continually seeks and participates in learning activities that involve workforce generational studies and leadership of millennials.

 

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3 Comments
  • Travis Peterson
    Posted at 15:32h, 06 February Reply

    Great post, Jared! So many of these concepts translate to ALL generations and speak to what we all need from our leader. Thank you for the thought-provoking post.

  • Justin Hill
    Posted at 20:43h, 06 February Reply

    Great article, JG!

  • Jaime Herrera Jr.
    Posted at 16:26h, 12 February Reply

    Good job Jared! Interesting post.

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