How To Work with Millennials: A Millennial’s Perspective

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There is no shortage of articles that have been written by highly regarded publications offering advice on “How to work with Millennials.” It’s understandable. We’re a new generation, we’re the largest generation since the baby boomers, and we’re the first generation born into an online, “all-of-the-time” kind of world. Yes, we’re different from previous generations, but previous generations were different from those who came before them. All generations grow and evolve – and ours is too.

What is surprising about most of the tips for working with Millennials is that they tend to focus on the negative stereotypes and character traits of Millennials. Perhaps instead of focusing on the negative aspects – and begrudgingly accepting Millennials into the workplace – it’s time to look for the positive traits that Millennials bring to a company’s productivity, culture, and growth (Hint: we’re innovative, efficient and creative, to name a few).

With that in mind, here’s a positive way of looking at how to work with this younger generation, and how to appreciate the unique strengths that we bring to the workplace.

1.  DO Ask Us To Think Outside of the Box
We grew up in the age of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, IDEO – and many of the most creative companies to date. We’ve witnessed some of the most innovative products and marketing campaigns in history, and we’re not afraid to think outside of the box. Ask us to get creative – we’d love the challenge.

2.  DO tell us how you prefer to communicate. 
Millennials love to communicate via email and text. The shorter and quicker, the better. That being said, we know it’s not for everyone. We want to communicate with you in whatever way makes you most comfortable – but communicating that is key.

3.  DO encourage balance.
One of the key qualities that Millennials possess is a focus on work-life balance. In fact, it’s probably not a bad idea to encourage balance for all employees, regardless of their age. Work-life balance is directly correlated to employee happiness, and happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees don’t quit their jobs either, so if employee retention is important, then this is probably good for ALL the generations in an office.

4.  DO act as more than just a boss – be a mentor!
Millennials highly value the guidance of mentors – in fact, we seek mentors in our bosses. We are particularly interested in learning how to juggle everything, how to mix (or not mix, if that is the case) business with pleasure. The lines between work life and personal life may be blurrier for us, since we were born into a social media-driven world. So we love to learn from you as a boss – but we also want to be friends, share goals, and connect with you (and our other team members) on a more personal level too.

5.  DON’T be afraid to ask us to work in teams.
Education has evolved in recent years to be much more team-focused. And with the entrepreneurship boom – and the focus on working in teams – we are not only used to teamwork, but a lot of us truly thrive in team settings.

There are a lot of positive aspects of having Millennials on your team – but it’s important to focus on the good rather than be afraid of the bad. So, maybe, instead of looking for ways to “manage Millennial employees,” we could all benefit from celebrating the differences among us, and working towards a common solution of maximizing the advantages that come from a multi-generational workplace.


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