As Baby Boomers move on to retirement, the millennial generation, often referred to as Generation Y, is expected to make up 75 percent of the American workforce by 2024. In IT fields, this monumental shift has already begun, as companies look to the younger generation for fresh ideas to help drive innovation. In order to effectively manage this growing population, employers must be willing to learn about the unique characteristics, needs, and preferences of younger workers.
Here are some tips to help you effectively manage Generation Y:
- Give them “structured freedom” – Millennials believe that work can happen anywhere, at any time. They grew up in the Internet Age, and they are accustomed to hyper-connectivity. If millennials want to work on tasks outside the office, allow them to, but do so within the framework of hard and fast deadlines. Be sure they are clear on their mandatory work hours, as well.
- Offer lots of feedback – Generation Y was the first to experience the “everybody should get a trophy” mentality. They are used to people telling them they are doing a good job. This doesn’t mean they should get a gold star each day, but managers should set measurable goals for millennials, and check in with them weekly to provide ongoing feedback.
- Create a mentoring program – Partner millennials with seasoned workers in mentor-mentee relationships. Millennials can learn quite a lot about corporate expectations and etiquette from older workers. The mentors can also learn new tips and tricks, as well.
- Provide opportunities for collaboration – Millennials like working in teams, and many projects can benefit from a bit of collaboration. Teamwork also helps build stronger, more trusting relationships between co-workers.
- Have some fun – Young workers, especially those with technology degrees, dream of working at a Silicon Valley startup. Your company doesn’t have to invest in a Google-style campus to attract young IT talent, but managers and leaders should create a culture where it’s ok to relax and have a little fun.
- Expect them to leave – Turnover is high among millennials, and employers should expect that most won’t stay at one job for longer than 1.5 years. Long-term strategic planning can help mitigate against this inevitable churn.
Not all of these tips will apply to managing every millennial employee who walks through the door. It’s important to keep in mind that each employee is an individual, with their own perspective on the world of work. Employers should keep these guidelines in mind, but try to not make over-arching generalizations about every member of Generation Y.
Partnering with a strategic recruiting firm can help you recruit and retain young, highly skilled IT talent. If your organization is based in Florida and you’d like more information on how to manage millennials to optimize their performance, contact the team at CERS today.