How to Work with Millennials

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During my career as an Executive Recruiter I've had massive success working with millennials. I've been fortunate enough to relate to them on a personal and professional level, and I understand their characteristics and how to best work with millennials. Managing millennials isn't all that different than other generations but there are some key characteristics that have changed in their upbringing that have impacted them in a very productive and positive way.

Before I dive into how to work with millennials, I want to say, not only have I had massive success working with millennials, but I LOVE working with millennials. It's an extremely rewarding experience because they are some of the most passionate, ambitious, and successful people I've had the pleasure of working with in my career. I personally think millennials get a bad rap but the millennial bashing isn't really all that different from the same type of bashing that has occurred in every new generation coming into the workforce or taking the place of the generation that came before it. It's commonplace, really, to bash millennials but it's unfounded and I'll explain why.

First, let's look at some key characteristics that make millennials extremely successful:

  • millennials have an accomplishment focused and "can do" attitude
  • they are extremely driven to succeed.
  • millennials work very well in a team environment
  • millennials are great communicators when given the chance
  • they are up for a challenge
  • millennials encourage and enjoy change
  • millennials are fantastic at technology, social media, and networking
  • they are a lot of fun if you communicate well with them and encourage their personalities to shine in a positive work environment

Research has shown that over 75 million millennials are poised to join the work force in the coming years ahead so it's imperative to learn how to best work with them, manage them, and encourage their professional and personal growth. They want to grow, and they are ambitious. They have a great drive and ambition in their careers, and often the sky is the limit for them if they work in the best positive work environment.

Creating a positive work environment for millennials has a lot to do with open communication. From their point of view, communication has a been a key cog in their social wheel for their entire lives. They grew up with the internet, instant access to communication, social networking, and technology based knowledge therefore it's important to integrate that in your company culture to best give them the ability to thrive and become the best possible employees, leaders, and career professionals that they can be. Trust me, they want to be the best they can be and if you give them the chance to communicate clearly with their desires, they will prove they can accomplish any goal you set out for them.

Again, the key here is clear and open communication. Ask them questions. Listen to their feedback and implement changes that give them the opportunity to thrive.

Millennials appreciate honesty. They know when you're giving them fluff, and towing the company line. Don't tell them what they want to hear because they have excellent emotional intelligence and they can sense when you're not being completely forthright with them in your words and actions. If you're honest with them, they will likely respect you a lot more and want to work more closely with you.

They are very ambitious. They want to speak with the leadership and know what makes the leaders successful because often they want to pattern that success for themselves. When they figure out what works in their company, they are likely to do those things, excel in their initiatives and goals, and fully complete their objectives.

They want upward mobility and movement in their company culture and that is it's important to have a good line of communication with them and the leadership in the company. When they talk with leaders, they want to be heard but they also want to make sure they are on the path to becoming the next leaders in the company if they reach their goals. Creating a company environment like this can help them to thrive and to grow your company's P&L and bottom line.

Millennials communicate extremely well when you engage them and ask them questions. If you put in place a company culture of open communication, they will be able to let their thoughts and feelings be known to create better teams.

They are fantastic at team building if given the chance. They work well with people that are honest, upfront, fair, kind, and blunt about the company and internal workings within the company. They truly do want the company to succeed because they are smart enough to know that if the company succeeds, they will be succeeding as well. Because of their ambition and drive, success is something they are striving for daily.

Millennials prefer an upbeat, optimistic, and energetic company culture. Millennials like optimism because a positive outlook creates a better working environment for them to thrive. Positive communications are easy to build if you are honest with them all the time. Having energy in the office or in the working environment is going to be a positive experience for them, and, in turn, they will be more productive.

One thing that some of people don't understand about millennials is that they prefer a flexible work environment. They like autonomy and if you let them, they will prove that they are responsible enough to be available all the time. If you give them freedom, they will be more productive. If you confine them to a closed-door work environment with restrictive hours, you are holding them back much like a wild animal inside of a cage at the zoo.

Millennials have a lot of energy and they can really be super productive if you give them freedom and full flexibility. They will understand when there are certain moments they need to be there to help the team and they are more than willing to be there when needed but they also thrive in a flexible work environment because it shows them that their company is a place that values their lifestyle.

Millennials are fantastic at multi-tasking. They have been multi-tasking their whole lives within the technology based communication age that they have grown up within. If you give them multiple tasks and ask them to communicate many different layers of conversations at one time, they are more than willing to do that. In fact, they are great at communicating multiple conversations all at the same time. They are smart enough to know their audience and what to say, how to say it, and how to give the best perspective in those conversations.

Millennials are great at networking. Their whole lives have been involved in technology based networking and being an environment where they have been able to network and communicate with technology. If you put a company culture in place that encourages networking, possibly an intra-net communication process or platform WITHIN the company, this will help them to communicate extremely well. Remember, they've been texting, emailing, liking, and posting on social media platforms most of their lives so that environment is native to them and their growth.

There are a lot of ways to create a work environment to give millennials the opportunities to grow and succeed. Companies need to be forward thinking to encourage millennials to grow into leaders. They have the abilities and if given the chance, they can transform a business and create positive change in a company culture for growth and maximum profits for the company.