In the midst of a generational shift, these tips will help you thrive now and in the future
Baby Boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day according to Pew Research. Think of all the knowledge, wisdom and experiences they represent. Woah.
Meanwhile, a PwC study projects Millennials will make up 50% for the workforce by 2020. For all you non-numbers people like me, that means young professionals will represent half of the workforce in just five years. Double woah.
Organizations of all types are impacted by this generational shift and the smart ones are taking steps now to ensure a smooth transition forward.
Integrate the next generation into the life and future of your organization
One way to replenish your leadership pipeline is to develop the next generation. It’s an obvious solution, but- if you’re like most clients I work with- the execution is where it gets tricky. How can you lead a generation that thinks (and acts) so differently than you? Before you turn to this Millennial Training video for all your solutions, consider the following tips:
- Understand your audience. Who are the young people you are trying to reach? What mega trends have impacted their attitudes, values and communication styles? What motivates them in the workplace? Spend time learning about Millennials and getting to know them as people.
- Set your expectations from the start. Many leaders are initially frustrated with young people because they do not follow the “workplace norms.” Do they know the “norms” and expectations? If so, then you have a problem. If not, then it’s on you to communicate them. And on a side note: as the world continues to change, it’s worth pausing to evaluate your policies and practices for relevancy.
- Establish primary communication channels. A professor recently came to me very upset about her students. She emailed them an assignment and only one of eight completed it. We investigated the situation and quickly learned that her students used Facebook messaging for their classes, not email. Make sure you are using the same channels when you communicate.
- Help Millennials find their fit. How does a young employee’s work fit into the overall mission of your organization? Are their gifts, strengths and passions aligned with your business needs? Young people who understand their purpose are going to be more likely to stay (and be happy!) in their job.
- Offer coaching and feedback. Performance feedback shouldn’t just happen once a year. Informal conversations should take place as needed. Setting up consistent check-in meetings with your young workers is also a great practice. This will help them baseline their work and make improvements in real time.
- Tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. 67% of Millennials want to run their own business. Can they channel their creativity and innovation at your organization? Once you clarify your expectations, consider giving Millennials creative freedom to acheive the results.
- Provide development opportunities. On the job training, webinars, podcasts, association memberships and cross-training are great ways to keep Millennials learning… and engaged. In addition to being a top workplace value for Millennials, development also accelerates their leadership preparation, which helps you in the long run, too!
- Mentor. More and more the Millennial generation is involved in leading our organizations and institutions. Are you doing all you can to equip and empower them for success? Are you taking them with you to meetings and including them on your leadership teams? At the same time, know that mentoring is a two-way street; reverse-mentoring is learning from people who are younger than us. We can all be inspired by their energy and optimism.
While there will be the inevitable bumps in the road as this generational transition takes place, it’s important to remain flexible and remember that different ways of doing things are not bad, they are just different and can be leveraged to make our organizations and relationships stronger!
What are you doing to engage Millennials in your organization? What’s working or not working?
And to my Millennial friends: did I miss any good ideas? What other things do you think supervisors and companies could do to empower you in the workplace? And now the hard question: what are you doing to prepare for leadership? What can you learn from those who’ve gone before you? Leave a comment below.
Like this post?
Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. As a “thank you”, I’ll send you a free chapter of my book, ReGenerations: Why Connecting Generations Matters (And How To Do It).