Recently, I was asked by a company to design a mentoring program for senior managers to coach millennials. The challenges I have heard in other companies as well: the difficulty of retaining talent specially of millennials, how to manage their expectations, their mindset of knowing more than their bosses, in terms of the knowledge economy and many other related issues.
The other week, I was in Boracay and I forgot the password of one of my email addresses. I approached the Front Desk in the hotel. It was early in the morning. While waiting for the front desk employee, a young twentyfive year old janitor, approached me if he can help. He guided me through finding my gmail address. Indeed, the roles have reversed, he coached me with much patience and perseverance.
Knowing the millennials
He represented the millennials for me. The millennials are the nearly 80 million young adults born between 1976 and 2001 who are already part of the workforce or are about to join the workforce. They are called by many names sometimes Gen Y, Gen Next, Echo Boomers, and the Facebookers. They differ from the generations that are ahead of them like the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.
Millennials exude a lot of self-confidence knowing that they are highly valued by companies considering their being technology savvy and their ability to create their own learning agenda. They often set goals for themselves and acquire job competencies to respond to new challenges. They are not daunted by difficulties. Instead they are open to innovating and finding new ways.
Meeting expectations of millennials
Millennials, if they are to remain employed by the same employer have clear expectations, especially of their immediate superiors.
One, is for the superior to do frequent coaching and feedback in the workplace. Coaching is the way to keep them committed and engaged. In fact, coaching can take many forms: it could be a 3-minute conversation as you meet in the corridor, it may be a response to an email, or work tips via text.
Second, is to provide opportunities for working together. Millennials are natural team players, especially when their group’s vision, mission, and goals resonate with them.
Third, Millennials want to know how their performance will be measured. They like structures and systems that are predictable, they want to understand by what metrics they will be judged, they were raised with a lot of structure, and measuring systems. They were used as students with being given stamps and recognition for good performance.
Fourth, is to think beyond traditional motivation perks and incentives. Millennials want a learning work environment that motivates them through opportunities to make clear and specific contributions. While tangible rewards are important, the motivators of achievement and feeling of belonging, are equally important.
Tips for managing millennials
One, provide learning opportunities. Millennials value training, they like getting certifications for programs completed. They delight in further education often pursuing advanced or graduate courses. They believe learning is the way to move forward.
Two, get them involved in corporate social responsibility projects. They cherish the opportunity to uplift the less privileged, uphold the protection of the environment, and contribute to society.
Three, facilitate networking and building communities. Millennials were born in the age of the internet. Their joy comes from being linked with friends and colleagues. They are eager to learn what is happening beyond their work space.
Four, empower them to give their utmost contribution to company results. Give them a chance to know the total business through job rotation. Help them to build constructive relationships with co- employees.
Fifth, and most important is taking time to do mentoring. Millennials cherish connections with their bosses. In fact, research has shown the great power of immediate superiors to help retain or discourage employees. Superiors who care create career paths that employees can aspire for. They set reasonable, achievable, and challenging goals.
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