Mutual misunderstanding and conflict between generations is an ever-present topic. The elders are convinced of the unquestionable advantage of experience over youthful creativity and enthusiasm, while the young look with pity on the stereotypical ways of thinking of the elders and their set of values.
Not surprisingly, there is a growing number of managers unhappy with the increasing influx of millenials into labor markets.
Millenials in the workplace, or effective intergenerational management and engagement
While this intergenerational collaboration is still a relatively new task, it is made all the more difficult by the fact that millenials are perceived as a generation that is distinctly stubborn, self-confident, and non-reliant.
The number of online tips for dealing with this “difficult breed” of employee can attest to the fact that this problem is not just a trivial matter. And while much of it is naturally humorous in nature and overtones, the problem is real and needs to be understood, and an optimal solution developed
Millenials will only increase in number over the years, and by getting rid of our preconceptions about them, we can learn how to talk to them, how to support them in achieving their goals, and how to leverage their strengths to grow our business.
A pattern that always holds true
Are millennials really that bad? No. They are just different, they think differently about the world and work ethics, but this is definitely not the first time in the last centuries when visions of successive generations collide with each other.
You don’t have to look to prehistory for confirmation – when Generation X (born in the 1960s-80s) entered the workforce, their elders from the so-called “baby boomers” generation were equally annoyed and portrayed them as aspiring slackers who are cynical, infantile, impractical and distrustful of institutions.
Sound familiar? So maybe, instead of judging and arming yourself for battle, it’s worth finding out what’s important to millenials and what motivates them to ultimately secure their trust, commitment and loyalty.
Millennials definitely need explanations and justifications for the activities and tasks they are assigned. In the eyes of elders, inquisitiveness may seem cheeky or disrespectful, but this is probably purely due to the well-established old rules that an employee should do their job without batting an eye.
Young people, however, want to feel that the company they work for has a worthy mission, to know that they are making a tangible contribution to that mission with their work, and that there is a reason for every task assigned to them. A manager who can adequately and credibly justify this is likely to succeed as a leader of a young team.
2. A sense of empowerment
Most of us may not be used to asking our employees for their thoughts on tasks, projects or meetings, but with millenials, this strategy can do a lot. Giving them a chance to express their opinions creates an atmosphere of acceptance and openness to their new insights and creativity. Paying attention to their ideas, thoughts, and opinions will definitely pay dividends.
3. Flexibility to act
Millenials often place more importance on experiences rather than results. Many will choose to earn less in a job that provides a better work experience, a strong company culture, or the ability to work remotely.
They don’t care about the first better job, they’re not tempted by bonuses and above-average pay – young people want a job that gives them the freedom to pursue their interests.
Generating ideas, developing original strategies, but above all feedback from superiors – this is what millenials need.
Doing things methodically, comprehensively, without stages of consultation and receiving feedback is not in line with their nature and work ethic, which is why good communication between them and their managers is so important. People in this generation are wildly independent and creative, but they need mentoring advice and confirmation that they are on the right track.
Main article photo: photo by Brooke Cagle, source: unsplash.com