Millennials are a talented generation of workers, bringing new skills with them to the workplace. While not everyone agrees that the newest generation of workers surpasses their predecessors in raw talent, it’s often observed that Millennials seek more responsibility, power and influence within a shorter timeframe than their older counterparts. In this 24/7 Internet-connected world, it makes sense that this generation would expect speedier recognition.
A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that more than half of Millennials surveyed were not content with just working — they wanted to be provided real opportunities for career advancement. A Deloitte study found something similar; 75 percent of its Millennial respondents sought hands-on leadership development from their employers.
How can employers respond to their Millennial workers’ desire for rapid career advancement? Consider these options:
- Assign inter-generational teams to projects. Older workers often possess the in-depth industry knowledge and years of company experience that younger employees lack. Meanwhile, the new generation is more facile with technology. Letting the long-timers provide the valuable industry insight and the new recruits share their tech skills can make the entire team more efficient and respectful of each other’s talents.
- Give them extra-credit assignments. As Millennials are often new hires and low on the corporate ladder, they may be saddled with more than their share of boring assignments that fall below their skill level. Once they prove that they’re proficient with their work, assign them one of the to-dos that’s been sitting on your desk. You may as well direct that pent-up energy toward a task you’ve been putting off, and at the same time you show your employee that you believe she’s up to the challenge.
- Offer unlimited vacation time. Millennials bring expectations of a more civilized work-life balance to the labor force. They, and frankly, most skilled workers, tend to balk at the traditional two-weeks vacation “benefit” offered to new hires of yore. Now, employers are luring young talent with unlimited vacation as an acknowledgement that it’s important for employees to feel their best to perform their best. Employers bank on having hired the right people who won’t abuse the policy.
- Ask for their feedback. Give the new members of the department a chance to critique the team’s performance. While they may be in the process of training on office protocols and production, their fresh perspective may offer a better approach to some tired old processes. Take note, however, that modeling constructive feedback given in a diplomatic manner may be needed to soften the tone.
- Loosen the reins. The concept of clocking in and out each day has Big Brother overtones and is thankfully going the way of in-boxes of the plastic tray variety. An open policy that allows personnel to track their own work hours — and even work remotely when possible — signifies trust, which engenders responsibility. Fostering a culture of trust in employees to do the right thing for the company without having to check with the boss at every turn promotes an office environment that workers across generations can appreciate.
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