4 Tips for Managing “Generation Me”
As an HR professional, you’ve probably heard (or experienced) the horror stories when managing the work ethic of “Millenials,” or Generation Me, individuals born in the 1980s or after.
You know full-well about the constant texting and using cell phones, the sense of entitlement, and the constant need for praise.
Personally, I think that Millenials are a misunderstood group.
Every age group has its own quirks, but it’s also important to acknowledge that you can’t let your impression of young workers be colored by stereotypes.
Not all Millenials embody their supposed cultural characteristics.
For those who do, it’s important to learn to work with their strengths and iron out their weaknesses.
Here are a few tips:
Be Very Explicit About All Rules and Expectations
In my personal experience managing the Generation Me, many of them don’t really understand the concept of unwritten rules.
Often, I’d get the same complaint from Millenials when they did something wrong: “Well, I didn’t know!”
If you are very explicit about the rules and all the expectations from the very beginning, you should run into fewer problems later.
Give Constant Initial Feedback, But Wean Them Off the Need for It
One of the hallmarks of Millenial behavior is being motivated only through constant praise.
This addiction to feedback is understandable, but it can also become an obstacle in a business environment.
When a young employee first starts, begin by giving consistent feedback on their work, both positive and negative.
However, be sure to cut back on the constant feedback until the worker no longer needs it to get the work done.
Reward Hard Work More So Than Intelligence or Talent
I don’t think a lack of work ethic is necessarily inherent in the Millenial generation.
I think work ethic is something that’s developed over time, and most young people don’t yet have it.
In college, they more than likely got along with only their talent.
They’re used to leaving assignments until the very last minute, so they just don’t know how to consistently work throughout the day.
As such, don’t reward your employees based on their perceived intelligence.
Rather, praise hard work.
Give them a sense of purpose as they go about their daily tasks
More so than generations before them, Millenials tend to closely align their sense of self with their work.
If they don’t find purpose and meaning in their work, then they easily become unmotivated.
As such, make sure that they understand the bigger picture as they complete daily tasks.
Make them feel valued by showing them exactly how they contribute to the company’s goals.
Millenials are a talented and passionate bunch.
But sometimes they just need a little bit more structure and encouragement to succeed in the workplace.
Once you harness their talents the right way, managing Generation Me can prove to be your most valued employees.
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