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How do you manage the Millennials?

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by on
in The HR Specialist Forum

“I’ve heard a lot about the ‘Millennials,’ younger employees who are just now entering the workforce in large numbers. They’re supposed to be very tech-savvy and up-to-date on computers, cell phones, Blackberries—and iPods at work too. But they also have somewhat of a reputation as slackers who want their work to be only on their own terms. What’s your experience with these young employees? Are your expectations of them higher—or lower—than for other groups of employees? What’s the key to getting the best performance from them?—Ted, Illinois

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline March 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Generally speaking, they tend to need a LOT of feedback and positive praise so give it to them (genuinely) often so they know they are doing a good job. Let them know how what they do “fits” in with the rest of the organization and how important their work is to the overall mission of your organization so they feel their work is meaningful. Provide a mentor for them and/or clear training on the front end, but allow as much free reign and variety in the job that you can give them, with frequent “check in” so you will know they are staying focused on getting the work done but let them have a little leeway for fun. They need to feel like being at work is “fun”. Hire them in teams when possible and allow them to work in teams on work assignments if you can. They get bored quickly – remember they are generally used to havign to multi-task. If you can assign them tasks that allow them to work with “new” technology, do it. Don’t assume they know what to wear or how to act at work…many probably don’t and you may be their very first paid employer . You have to ensure they receive clear work expectations up front – if you can assign a mentor who is a “veteran” to work with millenials, it could be a wonderful combination for both sides! If you are a “boomer generation” you will probably become frustrated sooner with many in this new generation so you may have to display lots and lots of patience with them while they learn the ropes of your working enviornment … find ways to help them enjoy being at work and be creative in recognizing them for work well done.


ted November 18, 2008 at 6:21 pm

One major company has now stopped this display and started the “Milinium people at the very bottom,m in this case the mail room. Some of the newbes were unhappy, but found out that this is the way major corporations are starting their training programs. From the bottom up. This is the only way to straightenn out the expectaions and jon descriptions, Im am afraid. The start is exactly tht,
“THEC START” of the trqainining. It’s a little like discipiling your children. Turn your cheek and let them get away with things and you will suffer the outcome. Clear job expectaions labeled and given to the new employee from the start with responsible follow up to insure the employee is aware and excepting the new training is paramount.

My belief anyway


Cindy November 12, 2008 at 12:36 pm

My experience has been that many of these younger people are slackers and are only interested in what you are going to give them. Incredibly spoiled. However, I am seeing that attitude with ages 30-40 even more so. Not sure what that generation is called. But about the younger ones–most of those are so techno-savvy that they can generally perform their job as well as shop online, use ipods, email… even though that activity is inappropriate for a work environment. They seem to have difficulty understanding that the equipment at work is not their’s and some of that type of activity can be harmful to computer networks. It’s impossible to police all of this.


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