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Millennials: love ’em or hate ’em, make it work

Millennials seem to take a lot of flak. Perhaps I’m sensitive to it, since I sit securely on the cusp of the Millennial Generation and Generation X, depending who you ask.

Millennials are lazy, entitled, delusional, narcissistic and unreliable. Or so says the internet. At a recent conference I attended, the speaker said millennials strongly believe they are unique.

“Of course they do,” he said. “They grew up being told they were special.”

I laughed. We did grow up hearing that. Our parents coddled us and raised us to feel special. We thrived on participation ribbons and gold stars for a job well done. But do you know who raised us?

Baby Boomers. The generation that, today, has a difficult time managing the millennial workforce. Interesting…

But love ’em or hate ’em, within the next few years, the Millennial Generation will make up the majority of the workforce. It may be time to adjust.

A recent article by The Balance dissected 11 Tips for Managing Millennials. As a millennial, I found many of them to be true and interesting, but they most certainly didn’t all apply to me.

Here are a few (read more here) with my own insight:

Provide leadership and guidance. Millennials want to look up to you, learn from you, and receive daily feedback from you. They want “in” on the whole picture and to know the scoop.

I can attest to this. While we enjoy freedom and ownership of our work, guidance is appreciated along the way. I may or may not have had training wheels on my bike for a long time as a kid…

Listen to the millennial employee. Your millennial employees are used to loving parents who have scheduled their lives around the activities and events of their children. These young adults have ideas and opinions, and don’t take kindly to having their thoughts ignored.

Yes, yes, yes. Also, yes, my parents very much did schedule their entire lives around the activities of my sister and I. Yes, I believe they’re still celebrating the freedom they gained once we were both gone to college. It’s been 18 years of celebrating.

Millennial employees are multi-taskers on a scale you’ve never seen before. Multiple tasks don’t phase them. Talk on the phone while doing email and answering multiple instant messages – yes! This is a way of life.

Yes and no. Can I talk on the phone while answering an email and replying to instant messages? Sure. Do I like it? Not necessarily. I may be the exception.

Take advantage of your millennial employee’s computer, cell phone, and electronic literacy Are you a Boomer or even an early Gen-Xer? The electronic capabilities of these employees are amazing.

I’m not gonna lie: I’m great at these things.

Provide a life-work balanced workplace. Home, family, spending time with the children and families, are priorities. Don’t lose sight of this. Balance and multiple activities are important to these millennial employees. Ignore this to your peril.

This very much applies to me. However, I think this is a growing trend, regardless of generation. Also I have a very needy dog who needs my constant love and affection. And I need hers.

Long story short, millennials are a needy group, but what they need is growth and satisfaction.

Millennials have developed work characteristics and tendencies from doting parents, structured lives, and contact with diverse people. [They] are the most connected generation in history and will network right out of their current workplace if these needs are not met. – The Balance

What say you? Are you among the millennials? Are you managing them? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

About Krista Ledbetter

Krista Ledbetter comes from a newspaper reporting background. Several years, tweets, and a career shift later, she keeps busy as a brand journalist for TDS Telecom. You're most likely to find her running or on the couch--hers or otherwise. She enjoys both in equal measure.

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One Response to Millennials: love ’em or hate ’em, make it work

  1. Bryce Brown October 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    Great article Krista! Additionally, many articles have mentioned that millennials are often motivated by being part of larger cause and volunteering in the community. For instance, I considered the community focus at TDS as a strong positive when I reviewed the TDS job offer. This was clear through its published Values/Behaviors and the way it puts it into practice with the Be Good Citizens paid volunteer time.

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