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The “word” Millennial is more than just a buzzword, it’s an entire workforce. According to NPR, Millennials are defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 and currently make up the largest share of the U.S. population. Forbes predicted that Millennials will make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020. With this new era of employees upon us comes different ways of thinking, working, motivating and avenues to success. It’s important to know what these young, tech-savvy, longterm goal-oriented, multi-taskers are like in the office and how to manage them.
The Tech-Savvy Generation
This is a term that has become synonymous with the millennial generation. It’s said that millennials switch their attention between media platforms such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and television 27 times per hour on average. They grew up during the consumer technology boom and have watched their devices drastically transform. As a generation they’ve seen: IBM launching it’s first PC and portable computer (1981), Motorola creating its portable phone (1983), Apple introducing the Macintosh computer (1984), the release of Mosaic’s first web browser (1993), the first “smartphone” or palm pilot (1996), Apple’s IPods (2001), Facebook (2004), Youtube (2005), Twitter (2006) and much more.
These are young adults who interact with technology intuitively. Software updates, model changes, social sharing, multiple content mediums, etc. are all second nature to them. At first this may be intimidating to a more senior team member who may struggle with the ever-changing climate that comes with tech however, it can be a great asset to any team. Intuitive knowledge of the software and social media around them helps accelerate learning, speed up processes and allow others to focus on high-level goals and direction while a millennial worker executes the technical side with relative ease.
This also means, however, that the caliber of technology the millennials are interacting with on a daily basis need to be up to date, impressive and exciting. Because milliennials are trained to expect the next iteration in their tools they may be less productive using less-modern practices or machinery. This is something to keep in mind when thinking about work tools and equipment. Investing in technology in order to increase productivity is a valuable way to allocate office budget.
The Constant Multitaskers
As mentioned earlier, millennials switch their attention between media platforms such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and television 27times per hour on average. A typical millennial is often juggling work email, personal email, twitter, facebook, instagram, texting, blogging, work tasks, and even meetings, all in the same hour. This means it can be hard for millennials to stay focused and engaged and often times they don’t even realize this because they are so used to constant multitasking, it feels normal. A recent study by Bentley University found 25 percent of managers felt that Millennials had a worse work ethic compared to the previous generation, while 89 percent of of Millennials rated themselves high in work ethic.
However, with proper management Millennials can be highly productive and motivated to stay on task. With a propensity to multitask comes large amounts of energy, which when properly allocated can create staggering results. It’s important to recognize what it is that motivates these tech-savvy multi-taskers and how to appeal to them.
Personal Growth and Entrepreneurial Spirit
According to the same Forbes article, 65% of millennials said the opportunity for personal growth was the most influential factor in their current job. Milennials are often motivated by bettering themselves, developing their own career path and happiness at work. Unlike previous generations, millennials are less focused on their paychecks and more focused on long-term goals and happiness. A study by The Intelligence Group reported that 64% of Millennials would rather earn $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they find unfulfilling.
As a manager, if you can relate projects and tasks to a millennial’s career development they will be more motivated to succeed. Make sure to remain transparent about the career path opportunities within the company and emphasize skills development that will help them become a more appealing member of the workforce. Regular career talks and check-ins are necessary. Millennials will often feel stifled if these talks consistently revolve around tasks and momentary projects.
It was also reported that 92% of millenials between 21 and 24 years old felt entrepreneurship education was vital. Milennials often appreciate autonomy and creative freedom within their roles. This is a generation that is used to being in charge of their own public image (through social media) and figuring out new technologies without the help of those older or more experienced than them. Therefore a flexible, open work environment is often the most beneficial for millennials.
However, many mangers mistake the fact that Milennials don’t seem to appreciate authority as a sign that aren’t looking to be managed. This isn’t the case. Although millennials are used to being in control they are also accustomed to a high-level of involvement and praise by their parents. Therefore it is important to have regular check-ins with your millennial workers and to highlight when they have produced great work. This will also help them stay on task and appreciate their work environment.
5 ways to Motivate Your Milennials
1. Invest in modern office devices and tools 2. Keep them engaged by focusing on long-term career goals 3. Emphasize personal growth and day-to-day happiness 4. Provide a supported flexible, open and independent culture 5. Hold regular check-ins to make sure they are on-task
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