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7 Tips for Managing Millennials

October 9th, 2020

Managing millennials means guiding and directing a team of workers (or specific individuals) who occupy an age range between the late 20s and early 40s. These workers are not new to the workforce or to life—they graduated years ago and are prepared for whatever adventures their careers may bring. But in many ways, they’re still finding their footing. And of course, none of us have the confidence, grace or leadership abilities in our 30s that we’re likely to have later on.

Here are seven tips that can help you make the most of these workers and their strengths while shoring up their potential weak areas.

1. Millennials have families now.

They’re no longer the freewheeling, unattached teenagers in adult bodies that they when the term “millennial” was coined. At this point, many in this age cohort are married, and many have children, pets, mortgages and aging parents who need help and care. Work is no longer their only priority, nor should it be. Respect that their lives outside of work are complex and often demanding.

2. They don’t trust or appreciate easy answers.

Maybe they did once, and maybe they will again someday, but right now their lives and challenges feel very unique. Nobody else has quite the same schedule, the same health and medical needs, the same professional ambitions, and the same priorities. If you ignore this fact, you may be tuned out.

3. Remind them that they’re part of a team.

Millennials may not always trust your leadership and they may be tempted to use their growing knowledge and confidence to make decisions that go against yours. Remind them that these decisions don’t just affect you, or a faceless CEO in a tower somewhere—they impact the team.

4. Millennials still speak their own language.

Gen Z may now be taking over the cutting edge when it comes to pop music and internet memes, but millennials are still millennials, and they do it as much and as consistently as ever. Let them go. They have a unique way of bonding with each other, just like the members of every other cohort.

5. Pay them more.

If you still think millennials are young greenhorns who will accept poor treatment in exchange for low pay, be prepared for a surprise. As they gain seniority and a clear understanding of their own worth, it will be harder to brush them off when they ask for a raise. So don’t do that. Retain them by helping them get where they need to be.

6. Millennials value fairness and diversity.

They don’t just want fair treatment for themselves; they never have. Millennials stand up for each other and also for justice and workplace values. If you mistreat a worker who occupies a marginalized demographic, be prepared to alienate and lose those who don’t.

7. Be better, at everything.

Millennials want justice and diversity, but they also want honest business practices, transparency, and an employer they can be proud of. Respect this and they will respect you. For more on how to manage and retain this age group, contact the staffing team at Merritt.

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