Managing Millennials For Dummies book cover

Managing Millennials For Dummies

By: Hannah L. Ubl and Lisa X. Walden Published: 04-24-2017

Everything you need to harness Millennial potential

Managing Millennials For Dummies is the field guide to people-management in the modern workplace. Packed with insight, advice, personal anecdotes, and practical guidance, this book shows you how to manage your Millennial workers and teach them how to manage themselves. You'll learn just what makes them tick—they're definitely not the workers of yesteryear—and how to uncover the deeply inspirational talent they have hiding not far below the surface. Best practices and proven strategies from Google, Netflix, LinkedIn, and other top employers provide real-world models for effective management, and new research on first-wave versus second-wave Millennials helps you parse the difference between your new hires and more experienced workers. You'll learn why flex time, social media, dress code, and organizational structure are shifting, and answer the all-important question: why won't they use the phone?

Millennials are the product of a different time, with different values, different motivations, and different wants—and in the U.S., they now make up the majority of the workforce. This book shows you how to bring out their best and discover just how much they're really capable of.

  • Learn how Millennials are changing the way work gets done
  • Understand new motivations, attitudes, values, and drive
  • Recruit, motivate, engage, and retain incredible emerging talent
  • Discover the keys to optimal Millennial management

The pop culture narrative would have us believe that Millennials are entitled, lazy, spoiled brats—but the that couldn't be further from the truth. They are the generation of change: highly adaptive, bright, and quick to take on a challenge. Like any generation of workers, performance lies in management—if you're not getting what you need from your Millennials, it's time to learn how to lead them the way they need to be led. Managing Millennials For Dummies is your handbook for allowing them to exceed your expectations.

Articles From Managing Millennials For Dummies

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3 Millennial Stereotypes that Are Misinterpreted

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

As with any generation, Millennials are saddled with certain misconceptions. Some of these include expectations regarding Millennial personalities and work ethic. Here’s a few you can ignore. Millennials hate face-to-face communication The assumption that Millennials don’t like face-to-face communication is understandable. Walk into any coffee shop, bar, or office and you will be greeted with downturned heads, faces lit by screens, and silence, with the occasional laugh-out-loud — even if he or she is sitting at a table alone. To make matters worse, Millennials are the first generation to use instant-messaging tools to “talk” to their co-workers rather than stand up, walk 15 feet to their manager’s office, and speak words. While Millennials do spend many hours communicating via screens and feel quite comfortable doing so, it does not mean that they hate face-to-face interactions. Millennials are the generation that are often begging for mentorship opportunities and love to interact, network, and socialize with others; heck, many would sell their smartphones for a chance to get an audience with the company’s executives. (Okay, maybe not sell their phone, but perhaps give it up for a few hours.) While Millennials do not hate face-to-face communication, they may struggle with it and need your help. This may be especially true for younger Millennials. They’re used to sending texts and instant messages because it’s their default mode of communication. Even phone calls, with the slightest suggestion of a human at the other end, can make Millennials nervous. Rather than stereotype and scold them, coach them! It may seem remedial, but ask them if they’d like to listen in on your conference calls or audit your meetings. And even simpler than that: Model the behavior you’d like to see. If you’d rather a Millennial walk to your desk versus instant-message you, set the precedent by doing the same. And if all else fails, just straight up tell them what you expect or prefer. Millennials are a lot of things, but “mind reader” isn’t one of them. The oldest Millennials are in their mid-30s and have a pretty good grasp of face-to-face communication. Many of them are now facing the challenge of managing a generation who can successfully function across five screens at work and have never lived a formative year without Wi-Fi. These Millennials may need your guidance to help them train in a skill that was once taught to them in a different way. Millennials want to have fun all day Most people can remember complaining to a parent or grandparent about work and being met with a response like, “Well, there is a reason it’s called the workplace and not the fun place!” [Insert eye roll here.] The fact is that Millennials (and hopefully all generations) believe that work and fun do not have to be mutually exclusive. No, Millennials do not think every working moment will be spent playing video games and drinking beer. (Nor would they feel too successful if that were the case.) But they do expect a little something every now and again. So what gets misinterpreted here? It’s easy to assume that the more time you spend having fun, the less time you spend actually working. While there is a time to buckle down and get the job done, studies have shown that having fun at work not only builds stronger ties with co-workers; it can also improve the bottom line. A few stats for your enjoyment: In a 2013 survey of more than 40,000 employees at 30 companies around the world, TINYpulse, a survey and research company, found that the number-one reason people liked their jobs was because they enjoyed the people that they worked with. At Google, employee satisfaction rose 37 percent as a result of initiatives dedicated to employee satisfaction — suggesting that financial incentives aren't enough to make for highly productive employees. A study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness at work led to a 12 percent spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10 percent less productive. According to LinkedIn, 57 percent of Millennials say that work friendships make them more productive. Millennials are young and inexperienced Many managers have to pick their jaws up off the floor when their new employee tells them they were born in the 80s or even, yes, the 90s. We’ve heard managers say things like: “It’s just so easy to dismiss them as a bunch of kids playing ‘office.’” This is hardly a new phenomenon: Everyone likes to poke fun at the newbie, and everyone got their share of teasing when they started working. However, there are a couple reasons to shift the hazing-the-newbie mindset: They aren’t “kids” anymore. Sure, younger Millennials are still in their early and mid-20s, but leading-edge Millennials are in their mid-30s. In just a few short years, they’ll be celebrating their 40th birthdays. Many Millennials already have kids of their own. Yet somehow, since the term “Millennial” entered the daily vernacular of popular media, it’s been used to reference all young people. That simply isn’t accurate. As a reminder, Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995, and in many cases already, they aren’t the youngest generation at the office. They have no real-world experience. Millennials may have been less likely to work the cash register or flip burgers as youths, but if you ask any Millennial about her unpaid summer internships, you’re bound to get a long list of previous employers. What’s more, they’re coming to the workplace with a different type of experience: life experience. No this doesn’t mean paying a mortgage or navigating the ins and outs of typical adulting. Millennials are more likely to have taken advanced-placement courses, travelled abroad, built a Habitat for Humanity home, or served in some sort of leadership capacity in their community. While some managers would prefer X amount of years in X industry or organization, try to figure out how you can capitalize on the experience Millennials do have.

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3 Tips for Being a Better Manager of Millennials

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Millennials represent a significant portion of the workforce right now. If you are in a managerial position, you will inevitably find yourself in charge of a Millennial. Here are some tips for refining your approach. Individualize your approach with each millennial Some managers tend to take a “same equals fair” approach with their management style, which can backfire with Millennials who have been raised in a world that celebrated the individual. No one wants to feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick, but everyone’s opinion of what the stick looks like is different, and Millennials expect an advanced level of personalization. Customizing your approach is critical with a generation that has been able to personalize everything from their song playlist to their sneaker color for as long as they can remember. If they see you using a one-size-fits-all managing model, you risk them checking out, or worse: leaving. They don’t want to be grouped with every other Millennial, especially not as the Millennial that the media consistently describes. Consider all the ways that you can change your ways, within reason. There is no reason to do guesswork here — you aren’t psychic. If you aren’t sure of the best way to customize your approach for a certain employee, just ask: How do you best receive feedback? What would be the most impactful way I can help you through this project? What time of day do you feel like you do your best work? Do you work better in a team or alone? What can I do to make your work life better? What is your ideal reward? Set clear, structured expectations for Millennials A very fine line exists between micromanaging and setting clear expectations. It’s arguably one of the toughest distinctions that you will face, and it’s a dance you’ll be perfecting as long as you choose to lead. Don’t forget that for the Millennial generation, the last thing they want is to feel that they’re on a deserted island without the necessary tools. While fiercely independent Gen Xers may love the freedom to tackle a project by themselves, Millennials want clear guidelines to follow. Before setting them on a project, ask yourself: How much do you expect them to work by themselves versus with you? What are the check-in points? How are you structuring those check-ins, if at all? When is the deadline? How are you tracking it? In what format do you expect them to deliver the final project? How are you going to give them that direction without micromanaging the situation? For most projects, you will have some very clear expectations (deadlines, deliverable structure, and so on) and some flexible expectations (PowerPoint or Keynote for the presentation, agenda for check-ins, and so forth). Be sure to point out both sets of expectations and what items fall into which category. Explain why some things are nonnegotiable, but also highlight where you are giving them freedom. Invite input from your Millennials If you are a leader or manager, giving feedback to your employees on how they perform is part of the job description. However, asking your employees for their feedback on how you are doing is less normal. Some managers welcome and thrive on this two-way conversation. Others may find it to be the hardest pill to swallow on this list of ten objectives. For those of you who find it difficult, you’re not alone. It is easy to fear not only what they may say, but also how their input will affect your leadership. Can you trust their advice? Will they be too hard on you? Do they lack the emotional intelligence to see the situation for what it really is? If you fall into the camp of the latter, don’t worry: Millennials don’t view your soliciting input as a weakness. If anything, it will only boost their confidence in you. Keep in mind, this generation has been reviewing everything from books to hotels to restaurants for as long as they can remember. If a website doesn’t allow them to share feedback, they are very likely not to trust it. The same can be said about their manager. Soliciting feedback builds trust. They will freely give constructive feedback, but not without accolades. Millennials grew up during the self-esteem movement, so they know how to dish out the good feelings. So while many managers may walk away from these conversations with areas to consider changing, just as many leave the conversation surprised and much more confident in the job they’re doing. Before they know it, they’ll find out that they’ve earned the title of #BestBossEver.

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Embracing Innovative and Tech-Savvy Millennials in the Workplace

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Millennials can bring many positive traits to the floor. It is your job as a manager to recognize what these are and how to apply them in the workplace. Take a look at these positive traits. Taking advantage of the tech-innate If you say to non-Millennials that Millennials are tech-innate, you’re likely to get one of two responses: “Duh, everyone knows that!” or, “Just because I’m not a Millennial doesn’t mean I’m tech inept!” Let’s take these reactions one at a time. The “Duh” Response Yes, most people recognize that Millennials are a tech-savvy group. However, many people don’t understand exactly how to capitalize on that strength because they’re too convinced that Millennials’ savvy is an obsession. It’s true that this cohort may turn to tech far more than generations past, but remember, Millennials grew up alongside the burgeoning tech industry and therefore find ways to include its advancements in much of their daily life. While dependence on technology can definitely have its drawbacks, it is hard to deny that it allows everyone to work more efficiently, more creatively, and more globally. At the same time, the transition to new technologies or systems can be rocky for everyone involved. Here’s where Millennials are key: They’re early adopters of new technologies, they learn systems quickly, and they’re willing to help those who struggle to embrace technological change. Viewing and utilizing them for how they can help will not only benefit your entire employee pool; your Millennial will feel like a valuable member of the team. Many progressive organizations have found an exceptional way to take advantage of not only Millennials’ strengths, but every generation’s: reverse mentorship. Pairing young employees with more experienced ones creates a two-way street of learning and knowledge transfer. In this scenario, you, the manager extraordinaire, would mentor based on your experience and knowledge. In return, a Millennial could teach you the ins-and-outs of the newest CRM system, a recent intra-office messaging system, or even Snapchat. At all times, leading with the question “What might this Millennial teach me?” can boost not only your knowledge, but also your Millennial’s engagement level. The “But I’m Tech-Savvy Too!” Response Of course you are! If you have had any level of success in the workplace in the last two decades, you’ve had to become comfortable with certain technologies, or at least the changing nature of them. But the difference is that while other generations have been merging onto the information superhighway, Millennials were born in the fast lane. They have never known a world without the tech upgrade cycle. Of course, this can have its own disadvantages like impatience and a need for constant change, but having a generation of people who use technology as “their first language” can be a huge plus. They may think of using technology in a way you’ve never considered, they may be more aware of trends and cutting-edge innovations, and they may be more in tune with social-media platforms and networking systems. Leading with a defensive edge by bolstering how tech-savvy you are too will not bring out the best of this Millennial strength. Know what you don’t know, and allow Millennials to fill in the gaps. Capture innovation in Millennials Breaking news: Millennials grew up with rapid technology advancements. You’ve only heard that 100 or so times by now. Don’t let this “Captain Obvious” news cloud your view of the important reality that Millennials saw innovation play out in two notable ways: industry disruption and the upgrade cycle. Industry disruption: While each generation has seen its share of major innovation, the technology that Millennials grew up with has disrupted industries that had been stagnant for decades. Whether it was something huge like the advent of the smartphone, or something more simple like Uber, Millennials witnessed that no matter the history of the product or institution, nothing is here to stay the same. (Note that the inventors/disruptors themselves are not Millennials; the invention/innovation was created during Millennials’ formative years, often by Gen Xers.) Playing spectator to these advances, Millennials learned that one great idea can lead to an entirely new way of doing things. At work, it’s historically been easy to fall in line and do things the way they’ve always been done. Cue a cacophony of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While this motto sometimes holds true, organizations that thrive are malleable and flow alongside change. Allowing Millennials to imagine the possibilities could take your organization to a new level. Upgrade cycle: To use an age-old and very weird expression, sometimes it’s not necessary to throw out the baby with the bathwater — improvement can be more than enough innovation. By the time Millennials got their first computer, they were already primed for Version 2.0, then 3.0, and then Version 10.1.4. They have learned to expect constant development and will expect the same at the office. While some may say, “This is how we do things,” Millennials are more likely to respond to that with, “This is cool. Now how do we make it better?” Managers who choose to embrace this mentality rather than fight it may be surprised at how their organization will change for the better.

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Keeping Watch on Technology, Economy, and Trends to Manage Millennials

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Your job of managing Millennials could be easier if you keep your eyes on the trends. As you explore the world of the future unknown, certain factors will remain unpredictable but entertaining to think about. Back in the day (choose your time period), technology was rapidly changing, the economy was at a high or a low, and some cutting-edge trends emerged; vague statements these may be, but the way society finishes the story behind these statements defines a generation. Though the variables of technology, the economy, and public opinion are unpredictable, you can use their non-patterns to write a future tale. Technology Each generation has seen great technological change — Baby Boomers saw the first printers, fax machines, and computers. Generation Xers saw the first personal computers, email systems, and mobile communication devices. Millennials have grown up on an upgrade cycle of Apple products and anxiously await the next tech and social innovation. Though The Jetsons painted a futuristic society far removed from our current times, it was set in 2062, and that date is growing ever closer. While you may not be driving flying cars or enjoying the clean house kept by your robot Rosie, some technological changes are going to warp the future and influence generations at work. The future of driving Young people have a declining interest in cars and driving with each churning of generations. While Baby Boomers worked tooth and nail to afford their first ride, Millennials and Generation Edge find cars an annoying necessity and, at times, a nuisance. Look no further than teens in your neighborhood to see kids who rely on parents and sharing car services like Uber to get from place to place. Though less of the youth demographic finds interest in driving cars, more envision a great world with self-driving cars. We’re going this way fast, and society is (for the most part) ready. Potential workplace implications include the following: More flexibility for working parents: They won’t be restricted by having to drop off or pick up their children at school or extracurricular events. Shifting working hours: Employees can start working as soon as they step into the car (effectively shortening the workday as their work time can include their ride time). The future of wearable technology Recently we’ve seen a huge movement toward wearable technology. The wearable tech market has introduced smartwatches, glasses, activity bracelets and rings, earpieces, and even belts aimed at either keeping you in-the-know and constantly informed or tracking some data about your life — or a combination of the two. Potential workplace implications include: Incredibly efficient access to information at work. Priming people to be constantly on the alert to any workplace notification and/or request. “Always on” will transform from a figurative statement to a literal one as well. A higher emphasis placed on constant data tracking, since people will be used to track data on a day-to-day, constant-feedback basis. The future of the workplace In general, technological changes will continue to affect where and when you get work done. They will also affect what jobs are created and what jobs are left vacant. The impacts of a tech-increased work world are extensive and include the following potential workplace implications: New jobs will be created for every new technological change; there is no limit. You can work anywhere, at any time. There will always be more innovative ways to get work done. There will be an even wider array of potential workplace distractions. Economy The economy is fickle and will have its highs as well as its lows. Where generations fall on the economic parabola shapes how they work. In high times: Generations whose formative years occur during a booming economy are generally optimistic. Take older Millennials as an example — though many of them graduated into a recession, for the most part, they grew up in an economically high time when conversations about money were uncommon. In low times: When a generation comes of age during a low economic time, their view on the future is more bleak, they are more pragmatic in their life choices, and they tend to save instead of spend. Take Generation Edge as an example — when they entered middle school, they learned the important lesson of saving when people around them suffered the impact from the recession and are now a generation of savers. Overall, as the economy ebbs and flows, take heed of how that impacts the amount of work your employees do. Between 1973 and 2013, wages increased only 9 percent while productivity increased a steep 74 percent. Now take into consideration younger workers, working from wherever they want and whenever they need to in the next 5 to 15 years … chances are they’ll be putting in a lot of hours and getting by with even fewer wage increases. Trends The element of “cool” is ever fleeting, but one thing remains steadfast: Youth have a powerful voice in determining the current trends. With each generation comes a new set of slang, ideologies, or even complaints about the older generation. Trends may seem unimportant, as many of them are connected to pop culture, but they tell you more about the people you work with than you might think at surface level. If you want to be on-trend, do the easy thing and just ask a young person. Develop a solid mentor relationship and ask the right questions. Most importantly, when you get those answers, don’t sit with your feet in cement, unwilling to change! Do your best to absorb the trend, consider how it works for you, and move on. To give you an idea of just how fleeting trends are, take a look at the shifts over time. Trends Across Generations Trend Traditionalists Boomers Gen Xers Millennials Gen Edgers Slang Hip, no sweat, cruisin’ for a bruisin’ Groovy, outta sight, far out Fly, fresh, total Barnie, what’s your damage? Talk to the hand!, Whatever!, As if!, tight On fleek, #ratchet, lit, turnt, yaaaas Fashion Hoop skirts, three-piece suits, greasers Polyester suits, go-go boots, bellbottoms Shoulder pads, big hair, neon clothing, members-only jackets Hip-huggers, scrunchies and butterfly clips, Zubaz, trucker hats Leggings, athleisure wear, skinny jeans Music The Rat Pack, big band Rock ’n’ roll, bubblegum pop, The Beatles, glam rock Grunge, hip-hop, alternative rock Teen pop — boy bands/girl groups, punk rock, R&B Mashups, auto-tune, acoustic Music shows Radio shows American Bandstand MTV MTV, BET, CMT, VH1 YouTube, Vimeo Tattoos and piercings Tattoos are for the Navy Hippie earrings, hippie tattoos One ear piercing for men, multiple piercings for the ladies All the tattoos as a form of self-individualization TBD

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How to Prepare Millennials for Management Positions

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Millennials can make effective managers. Imagine that you are a 55-year-old employee named Michael. You have been working at your organization for 25 years. You are loyal, ambitious, and content with your career. You’ve got a few plaques for achieving great things and proudly wear a company T-shirt when you go out. In the past year, you’ve learned that you’re getting a new manager, Ryan, who has been alive as long as you’ve been working. For some reason(s), this situation is unsettling for Michael, but perhaps equally daunting for Ryan. Preparing Millennial leaders like Ryan for this quite common scenario will be key as you groom the next generation of leadership. Teaching Millennials to understand what it’s like for veteran employees like Michael to work for a “youngster” will be critical. Preparing to deal with potential negativity Michael is not alone, as more and more Boomers and Gen Xers are being managed by blossoming Millennial leaders. If only it were an easy task! Leadership and management are not easy, especially in a “managing up” scenario. As you prime Millennials to reverse the traditional flow of management, check yourself. Getting past the “haze the freshmen” mentality Whenever a new group enters the pack, everyone’s hackles seem to rise. It’s the discomfort of the new, the unfamiliar, and the unknown. Unfortunately, this often leads to feelings of resentment. Grumblings of “I had to work tooth and nail to get to where I am,” become rumblings of “I didn’t have anyone to help me get where I am, you figure it out.” If, as a manager yourself, this is your initial reaction to the idea of Millennial managers, there’s no need to feel bad about it. This trial-by-fire or sink-or-swim mentality goes centuries back, and it’s a way of having newbies prove that they deserve to be among the esteemed rank. If this is you, Ask yourself: Who does this help? If you have wisdom and experience that can help streamline management, why would you hold back? To prove a point? No one benefits from this. Simmer in the feeling privately for a few minutes. Then, compose yourself and lead the new bunch of managers. Don’t be reticent about teaching them the wisdom you’ve acquired. Get ready to be a proud papa/mama/leader bear. You’ll find that one of the highest achievements you can accomplish as a leader is to be the one responsible for the next group of amazing leaders. Dealing with the “upstart syndrome” Beware of the “upstart syndrome.” When a younger employee is managing an older direct report, there’s always a risk of inspiring the upstart syndrome: What’s this kid doing managing me? How is she more qualified than I am? Why should I listen to her? She’s going to have to prove herself. Not everyone will feel this way, but for the ones who do, Millennials will be starting the managerial relationship at a serious disadvantage. So, do them a favor: Prepare Millennial managers. You can provide the honest insight and tools for tackling this potential challenge and overcoming it. Emphasize the importance of humility. The biggest favor Millennials can do for themselves is to develop a keen sense of self-awareness so that they exude humility in everything they do and say. They may feel pressured to come in as “the boss,” but this will only disengage everyone around them. Coach them on how to invite input and ask for guidance without appearing unqualified. The best gift that you can give potential and current Millennial leaders is generational training and know-how. Millennials managing Boomers It’s time for a mind meld. As best you can, don your gen lens to get inside the mind of another generation. You see a feedback form written for a Millennial manager from a Baby Boomer direct report. It’s annual review time, and the Boomer is being as honest but polite as she can. If you want to challenge yourself, spot the generational collisions as you read. Here’s what you should take away: Reasons Millennials will earn an A+ at managing Boomers: Giving Boomers the positive and optimistic outlook they thrive on Keeping Boomers involved and up-to-date on technology Reasons Millennials will be on the struggle bus managing Boomers: Overcoming the “you could be my kid” prejudice/uneasiness Being overbearing about what technology Boomers should be using and how often Approaching relationships too informally Millennials managing Xers While many people assume that the Boomer versus Millennial relationship is most challenging, in reality the struggles are more real between Gen Xers and Millennials, especially when it comes to management. Here’s what to take away: Reasons Millennials will earn an A+ at managing Xers: Being transparent about company decisions and direction Continually streamlining workflow, making things more efficient Fostering a flexible work environment for everyone Reasons Millennials will be on the struggle bus managing Xers: Wanting to adopt too much technology without vetting its usefulness first Collaborating by default and planning work events/outings without regarding Xers’ fiercely guarded personal time Finding the right balance of checking in to make the Millennial manager feel good, but also keeping the Gen Xer engaged and not feeling micromanaged

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How to Bring Out the Best Millennial Leadership Skills

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

With a fresh new wave of leadership comes a brand new set of leadership skills. Millennials, like any generation, have many natural talents, some innate and some as a result of the conditions they grew up in. Unsurprisingly, they’ll be bringing their generational traits with them as captains of leadership. To get a grasp on where to focus your efforts as you groom the next batch of leaders, it’s helpful to understand the areas where they’ll knock it out of the park, where they’ll do just okay, and where they may fall short without your training and assistance. While it’s natural to manage how you want to be managed, don’t try to make Millennials into mini versions of yourself. You’ll end up frustrated and potentially damage relationships if you try to force a square peg into a round hole. Instead, think of how you can focus on making the most of their unique talents, and grant them generational self-awareness so they can adjust appropriately in the areas where they may be lacking (especially when they manage other generations). Where Millennials will shine How do you bring out the best qualities of potential Millennial leaders? It’s up to you to find the best ways to highlight the following shining stars: Collaborating: They’ll excel at building consensus across the team. Coaching: More than being “bosses,” Millennials will embrace a compassionate leadership style that is carrot (not stick) centric. Innovation/disruption: They will inspire their direct reports to think in new, unexpected ways and to take the road less travelled. Accessibility: The work-life integration that Millennials so love will make them extremely accessible leaders both from a time perspective (always on) and from a communication perspective (no need for formality). Customization: They understand the value of customization and will strive to cater their approach to each employee. Open-mindedness: They’ll naturally create an inclusive environment because diversity in opinion will be just as important as diversity in employees. “[Millennials have] seen a lot of change in the world and, as a result, we’re going to hopefully be pretty adaptable in our leadership positions. We also might be a little more open to change.” —Alexa S., Millennial Employee-first mentality: Millennials value people above profit, and the welfare of their reports will be a high priority. Holistic approach: They’ll focus on promoting employee well-being — physical, mental, and emotional health — because they know how it can impact the bottom line. Yes, that means treadmill desks near windows and meditation/yoga rooms at work. Team building: Millennials value a strong team (#workfamily) and will make great efforts to promote the ties that bind across their reports. Which generation will Millennials shine at managing? It shouldn’t come as a shock that Millennials will probably shine brightest when managing their own generation. There are many easy points of connection from a cultural standpoint, and they will share many of the same traits and values when it comes to the workplace and perceptions of work. Collaboration and feedback styles will be similar, and ideas around formality will likely align. There is, however, a slight possibility that Millennials will get a taste of their own medicine. Managing one of their own could send them into a whirlwind of confusion. Thoughts of “Wow, this is harder than I thought” may cross their minds as they have to manage the stereotypes that are so often spread (and sometimes true!) about their own generation. Where Millennials could coast Millennials, like other generations, will earn a solid B-average in some areas of leadership. As their leader, find the right times to coach as necessary. Remember to focus more energy on the shining moments than the ones that will require too much energy to buff out. Informality: A relaxed attitude with both dress and communication can make it a challenge for Millennials to earn respect from other generations. Technology: While their technology savvy will generally be a big asset, other times it can demotivate those who find the reliance on it crippling, distracting, or alienating. #workfamily: Having close, open, authentic relationships with direct reports may lead to some display of favoritism or the inability to give critical feedback when needed. Communication: They love texts, IMs, and emails, but with some generations they’ll need to learn the importance of upping the face-to-face game. Burnout management: Millennial managers will do their best to prevent burnout but may do a bad job of leading by example (for example, by not taking their vacation time or sending emails at all hours of the night). Rewards: Influenced by their own generational lens, Millennials may initially struggle with giving rewards that appeal to each generation (rather than the ones they wish they’d received). Which generation will Millennials be okay at managing? There are undoubtedly points of connection between Millennials and Boomers. Natural relationships will blossom because of the familiar generational dynamic, whether it’s aunt-niece, father-daughter, and so on. Additionally, both generations share an optimistic spirit and lean toward positivity. The areas that may give Boomers pause could be Millennials’ lack of formality in dress, communication, and general workplace etiquette, as well as eschewing, for the most part, a competitive work style. Where Millennials might struggle While it’s not a good idea to focus on Millennial weaknesses, you can’t turn a blind eye to the reality that Millennials won’t excel in all areas of leadership. To ensure that you bring out the best, don’t focus on the struggles but carry an awareness of what they may be so you can appropriately redirect. Struggle to work independently: Collaborative work may be the Millennial go-to, but it could morph into a serious demotivation factor for some generations, primarily the hands-off Gen Xers. Oversaturated feedback: The constant flow of feedback and check-ins that Millennials value may feel, to some, like micromanaging. Democracy overload: Not all decisions can be made with group-think, and sometimes Millennials will need to just buckle down and make a decision without group consensus, uncomfortable as they may feel. Earning respect: Older generations may feel some resentment toward a younger person managing them and will need Millennial managers to prove why they’re qualified for their position. “The biggest [struggle] would be [that] now you’re in a place of power and you have to create boundaries with people who were once your friends. How do you get them to respect you?” —Lauren W., Millennial Expecting immediacy: Because Millennials are always on, they’re going to expect speedy responses to communication, even if it’s sent at 11 p.m. Discipline: Millennials lead with a friendly, good-cop approach, and it’s going to be extra hard for them to flip a switch and become the bad cop. Which generation will Millennials struggle managing? Millennials will likely struggle the most when managing both Gen Xers and Gen Edgers. Xers raised their Gen Edge offspring to embody an independent spirit and to go for the win (not just the participation award). Millennials may have some hurdles to overcome when it comes to connecting with a generation much more practical, pragmatic, and direct than their own.

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Blue Collar versus White Collar Millennials: Adjusting Your Managerial Style

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

In the case of blue collar versus white collar, you have two potentially disparate types of work. White-collar workers are depicted as spending “normal” 9–5 work hours in an office or cubicle, whereas blue-collar workers may hold a graveyard shift and are typically on location, either in their specified field or an industrial location. White collar typically requires higher education, whereas blue collar requires more physical labor and technical skills. White-collar workers may be compensated with a salary, whereas blue-collar workers may be paid hourly and belong to a union. Though blue-collar jobs have more than their fair share of Millennial employees, the Millennials in these roles don’t feel like the generational conversation applies to them — and for good reason. Much of the Millennial-workplace talk, research conducted by large research houses, and media that talks about that research focuses on white-collar positions. Though white-collar jobs therefore seem like an easier sell, don’t discount the value of blue-collar jobs to the Millennial generation. Millennials and the next generation are eyeing trade roles as a way to succeed, find stability, avoid debt, and bypass sitting behind a desk for hours on end, day after day. Wearing a white collar Here’s a look at white-collar jobs as seen through a Millennial lens: Depending on the job, there can be a high degree of flexibility in rules and regulations. It’s possible to accommodate work-life integration, allowing Millennials to fit in doctor’s appointments or midday workouts. Earning potential, as well as career progression, has no cap. Even if you’ve reached the limit within a certain organization, job-hopping around other white-collar roles means that Millennials can constantly seek to level-up their careers. The office setting allows for providing some of the little perks and benefits that are small but important pieces in Millennial retention: building opportunities for collaboration, providing catered goodies, and so on. Salaried roles mean there can be a focus on a results-oriented approach that frees Millennial employees from feeling as if they’re being micro-managed. It lets them accomplish tasks in their own way on their own time, as long as they’re meeting predetermined goals. Clash-point considerations for recruiting and retaining Millennials in these kinds of roles include the following: Meaning: This can be a challenge within some white-collar jobs, especially for more entry-level positions. If, as a young Millennial employee, you’re answering the phone and redirecting calls all day, it can be hard to feel how you connect to the company’s bigger picture. Really take the time to connect the dots for employees whose roles may be distant from your company’s bigger picture. Feedback: A great win within white-collar jobs is that oftentimes there’s a well-established feedback loop within the company’s structure. Millennials, who’ve been groomed from a young age to expect a constant stream of feedback, respond very well to opportunities to get constant commentary on their work, as well as chances to learn from mentors who’ve had more time at your organization and can teach them a thing or two. Constant commentary in these environments is most ideal when it comes from every level within the organization. More so than in blue-collar positions, the stereotype of “needy” or “entitled” hangs above white-collar Millennials. Those who’ve just arrived already want to fast-track their way to the top or want a face-to-face meeting with the CEO, thinking their ideas are brilliant enough to warrant her time. This may stem from the more lax rules and formality that come with typically white-collar roles, but don’t chalk up Millennials’ eagerness to entitlement. It’s true that if you give them an inch they’ll likely want another, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience for everyone involved. Tell them where you stand while being open to their ideas. Going with a blue collar Millennial Here’s what blue collar means to a Millennial: Both managers and employees feel ignored, that the Millennial topic doesn’t apply to them. Inflexible rules are pretty much the status quo within blue-collar jobs, and for very good reason. Oftentimes, the safety of both employees and clients/consumers is at risk, and staying true to rigid safety and scheduling standards is imperative to accident prevention. Other times, it may seem like change is impossible because every person is preoccupied with following every single rule. Manual labor is, as the phrase suggests, hard work. It can be physically straining on the body, with risk for injury and burnout. Workers must be on their guard the entire shift and are often subjected to elements beyond their control: working floor conditions, weather, and so forth. Within blue-collar roles, time often means money. Employees are compensated on an hourly basis, which means if they aren’t there, they aren’t making money. Compensation increases are incremental at best, and this can be a major challenge in wooing Millennial candidates. Oftentimes, higher education is not necessary for blue-collar roles. This can actually be wielded as a major draw, especially when you consider the generation after Millennials. Gen Edgers saw Millennials become hamstrung by mountains of student debt and are giving a curious eye to careers that don’t necessarily require diplomas and all the financial hardships they entail. Clash-point considerations for recruiting and retaining Millennials in these jobs are as follows: Organizational structure: Because rigidity and adherence to rules is baked into the way a lot of blue-collar jobs function, it should come as no surprise that the traditional hierarchy has not only stood the test of time, but is almost necessary in this kind of environment. Because the structure is very much power and influence at the top, trickling down to the bottom (where, typically, the newest employees reside), there’s the chance that some of these Millennials will feel disconnected from leadership and start to see themselves as a peon, a number, a worker with no face and no name. Make an effort to connect lower-level employees with the upper tier of your company. Have managers/owners show up, walk the floor, make contact with the workers, and show not only that they’re accessible but also that they care. “[I like my hourly employees to know that] I’d rather prepare them for another employer than have them leave because they weren’t happy. [It’s about] understanding what they are looking to get out of the experience, and each person is different.” —Jayson M., Manager Collaboration: Working in a factory setting, focusing on one technical function day in and day out, can be lonely and isolated. Blue-collar managers should really put effort into building a team dynamic that encourages collaboration among workers. That may be through team-building opportunities offsite, resources for them to have a book club on their breaks, or meetings that encourage employees to speak up, come together, and share best practices. Opening up these moments for collaboration may seem like catering to Millennials, but they can instead be a retention tool that shows individual workers how their job impacts everyone and how their influence can promote working together to improve and streamline operations. You may be surprised by what emerges through encouraged collaboration. Let’s get real — the inflexibility of working hours is going to be your absolute biggest challenge when it comes to recruiting and retaining Millennials. Around the globe, Millennials cite flexibility and work-life balance as a top concern, and they’re cautious about joining an industry where this isn’t even a possibility. Rather than trying to diminish this fact, own it, and focus on what you can offer. Your hours may not be flexible and there may be no working from home, but there are tangible results of your efforts and the ability to leave work at work (none of that after-hours stuff). You can also market your culture and an environment that is really committed to their employees’ well-being. This is a more powerful tool than you may realize.

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How to Manage the Dual Income No Kids Subset of Millennials

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Millennials can’t be corralled into a single group without distinctions. At the risk of giving a history lesson about the American dream, you might want to think about how you’ve seen it change over time. How are your grandparents’ stories different from your own? How have motivations changed over time? While achieving the American dream used to look like getting married, owning a beautiful home with a white picket fence, and having lots of children’s mouths to feed, now it can look like some version of that or the equally accepted tiny home or apartment dwelling, with no additional mouths to feed. The media loves to paint Millennials as averse to marriage, averse to children, and averse to owning a home. Though there are more who align with these ideals in their generation, it is by no means the majority! Here’s a more accurate view: The marriage dream: Most Millennials want to get married but not at the age of generations past — for example, in 1960, the average bride was around 20 and the groom was around 23. Now, the average age of the bride is around 26 and the groom is around 29 (Pew Research, 2011). Some Millennials choose to delay marriage either because it’s too expensive or, in their eyes, unnecessary. Domestic partnerships and long periods of dating are more commonplace than ever before. The house dream: Many Millennials seek new digs for their lives and lifestyles, which is probably why they are outpacing Generation Xers now as first-time homebuyers. It turns out that the majority of Millennials want to own a home, but what they plan to put in it — or, more accurately, who they plan to put in it — is slightly different than generations past. The kid dream: While the majority of Millennials either already do or will have kids within the next decade, couples who dwell together, dine together, and see their futures together may envision those futures without wee babes. And that means their motivation is different. For couples of yore, the motivation was more simple — you don’t work, your family doesn’t eat. Now, that’s changing. As a manager, you’ve likely seen other generations of DINKs, so be sure that you can manage Millennial DINKs in a way that works for them. Here are our do’s and don’ts: Don’t make them work after hours because their responsibilities seem lighter. Everyone has responsibilities outside of work. Granted, taking care of children is taxing and unpredictable, so there are different levels of implied flexibility. Be careful not to make it seem like the Millennial who doesn’t have the same kind of responsibilities has more freedom to take on more and should, because that’s what was done in the past. Don’t pressure the DINKs into the non-DINKy lifestyle. Millennials who are DINKs have likely heard plenty of adults in their lives ask them when that’s going to change. Or, they’ve had adults say things like, “Well, that’s just your generation’s way of doing things, isn’t it?” Don’t call attention to their choices as something that will change in the near future. Do recognize that they are likely motivated by finances in a unique way. Many DINKs are targeted by financial institutions because of their accrued and shared wealth, and chances are those you manage are happy to have more disposable income. They’re also likely paying off student loans, among other debts, so they love having a higher bucket of income. Do acknowledge their thirst for freedom. Millennial DINKs are a lovely image of the devourer of the experience economy. They take spontaneous trips, pick up and move to have a dream career, and excitedly take on new hobbies and responsibilities outside of work. As a manager, acknowledging those freedoms as having equal value/importance as those of a Millennial with children will go far to motivate Millennials.

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How to Manage the Millennial Dad

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Millennials dads are a large part of today’s workplace. In recent years, very pro-woman and pro-man movements have coincided with gender-equality initiatives and the movement to redefine what it means to “be a man.” On one hand, this has put Millennial men in a place of confusion — when the labor economy changed to a service economy, the physical strength and resulting demeanor that had played a heavy hand in other men’s successes no longer mattered. Millennial men continue to find their footing but in the meantime are becoming fathers who aim to act a little less like their own fathers. What the Millennial dad looks like Much like Millennial moms, Millennial dads are finding their niches online with blogs like Fatherly and groups of friends. To get an idea of what he looks like, here are a few clues: He splits his time. In many Millennials’ households, Mom managed the house and Dad managed the finances. He came home late to dinner on the table and children who were already showered and fed, ready to be tucked in for the night. These kind of traditional gender roles are still prevalent, but the outside world is tremoring with mindsets that embrace all kinds of changes. He is spending five more hours a week with his kid compared to dads in 1995, says a report in The Atlantic. He’s resourceful. When a younger dad is trying to understand how to do something or figure out the way to fix that thing that broke that no one can fix, he can always go back to his toolbox, where he was told to find a solution. And if he can’t find a solution there, then he needs to build it. “I think sometimes it’s all about being busy. Workplaces put so much emphasis on hours worked that there is less home time.” — Bethany B., Millennial He’s stuck in a changing world. While lots of things have changed on the home front and dads are now washing dishes and painting their daughter’s toenails, the workplace has somewhat lagged behind when it comes to serving them. Typically, managers are still more likely to understand if a woman asks for a flex schedule or needs to take time off to take a kid to a doctor appointment. Dads can often feel stuck between a rock (their spouse/kids) and a hard place (their boss). How you can best manage him As you strive to balance managing both Millennial moms and dads, keep in mind these tips for the dads specifically: Assume that they’re fighting for flexibility just like mom. Don’t take their loyalty for granted. Don’t downplay how hard fatherhood is. Be an example. Adapting the workplace for a new brand of Millennial parent Regardless of whether you are a mom or dad in any kind of relationship, single or coupled, and regardless of your generation, being a parent is tough. Being a full-time worker and a full-time parent can be even harder, but you know that. To adapt to this younger generation of parents, heed this advice: Have a standard parental leave, not maternal and/or paternal. As paternal leave becomes more normal, recognize that focusing on one parent’s gender in the relationship is non-inclusive to every relationship and doesn’t serve anyone well. There’s a reason that Americans look to other countries like Norway and Denmark, who give ample time to recover after having a child. The Department of Labor reported in the United States that more than 25 percent of women return to work after only two weeks. Maybe that’s too fast. And perhaps, oh perhaps, parental leave will assist in those changes. Review flexibility policies. If your flexibility expectations are set, then they’re set! Just allow yourself the flexibility to reexamine them on a regular basis to ensure that you’re providing a work environment that works for everyone. As much as parents in the workplace need flexibility, don’t forget that their needs do not trump those of others who may not have children. This is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you are a parent yourself. It can feel perfectly acceptable to grant flexibility to an employee with a sick kid at home but scoff at the person who wants to work from home because he is having renovations done on his cool downtown condo. Fair is fair. Celebrate parenthood, don’t ignore it. It wasn’t too long ago that women had to hide their pregnancies and keep them secret for fear of getting fired or treated differently. As a manager, celebrate new mothers and fathers for the changes in their lives, and take a genuine interest in so far as they want to discuss those lives.

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How to Modify Your Managing Style for Old Millennials versus Young Millennials

Article / Updated 08-15-2017

Have you ever managed Millennials and thought, “Wow, one of these things is not like the other!”? If so, welcome to the club of Millennial segmentation. Millennials can be divided into two respective groups that share many traits and qualities but are separated by a few key events and conditions. To do this, we’ll look at the older Millennials and juxtapose their experiences to the younger Millennials. You may be rolling your eyes at the use of the word “old” here. Yes, even the oldest Millennials have still not hit their 40th birthdays and by no one’s definition are actually old. However, because it’s the simplest and most straightforward way to divide these two groups, we’re going to run with it. We’re only using “old” as a relative term. With that out of the way, Old Millennials can be defined as those born roughly between 1980 and 1987. Young Millennials are those born from 1988 through 1995. The Millennial generation can be segmented many times over, so this is by no means the one and only way to divide this massive generation. Cool your jets if this is stressing you out or causing an inner monologue of frustration! The things that divide old and young Millennials Let’s start with the obvious division — life stage. Old Millennials are tending to their growing families and settling into careers as leaders or soon-to-be leaders. Young Millennials are only just breaking into the workforce and/or thinking about starting families of their own. When you look beyond life stage, the two major factors that distinguish these groups from one another are 1) the evolution of technology and 2) the Great Recession. With technology, Old Millennials witnessed the slow start, then exponentially increasing rate of change. Young Millennials began their formative years right as that rate of change picked up and innovation after innovation hit the marketplace. For Young Millennials, touchscreen cellphones were the norm, not the exception, in high school. While Old Millennials remember a time when you had to have a dot edu email address to get on Facebook, for their younger successors, Facebook is mostly passé and something that their family members frequent. Instead, they turn to the still mostly-grandma-free Snapchat or Instagram for their social media fixes. Older Millennials have expectations around disruption and innovation, and Younger Millennials have expectations around staying current. Perhaps the biggest difference between these two subgroups is their experience with the Great Recession. Old Millennials graduated college before the U.S. economy took a steep downturn. While they were in school, they received the rosy and idealistic messaging from parents and teachers that they could reach for the stars and do whatever they wanted. After college, they easily found jobs and kicked off their careers. Though like everyone else, they were dealt financial and professional blows in the aftermath of 2009, they retained that optimistic messaging they’d received during their schooling. On the other hand, Young Millennials were entering, attending, and leaving college as the Great Recession hit full force. They graduated into an economy that wasn’t hiring experienced workers, let alone freshly minted college grads. They were either in high school applying to colleges or in college and planning for their careers when they got the blanket message of: “Good luck, paid internships don’t exist and entry-level jobs require five years of experience; oh, and get humble because you may have to live with Mom and Dad while you try to figure out this thing called life.” Despite their idealistic upbringing by Boomer parents, Young Millennials weren’t spared the bleak realities of entering the working world saddled with crippling college debt and no job opportunities in sight. Consequently, this latter half of Millennials tend to be more realistic and financially conscious than the collaborative and optimistic Old Millennials. The ties that bind As a whole, they’re all still Millennials. For the most part, they were raised by Boomers, albeit differently aged Boomers. They all know what it’s like to live in a world where everything from technology to social media platforms is constantly being upgraded. They transitioned from tapes, CDs, and MP3s. They rocked out to boy bands. They played Oregon Trail, whether it was the first edition or the fifth. They have strong affiliations to team iPhone or team Android. They enjoy collaborative work environments, and flexibility in their working lives. They want jobs that matter, and strive to make a difference in the world. Old and Young Millennials are not so different that they’re unrecognizable, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re diametrically opposed! All in all, the commonalities outweigh the differences. The different managerial approaches If you want to be a top manager, mind some key differences between Old and Young Millennials: Old Millennials tend to be more collaborative employees and leaders. Old Millennials are more likely to be motivated by autonomy rather than financial incentives. Old Millennials tend to be a bit more optimistic about all the possibilities. Young Millennials are more realistic with themselves and the world. Young Millennials adopt a different tech comfort and use. Young Millennials prefer to focus at work all day and get the work done before playing — outside of work. Old Millennials, however, prefer to work, then play, then work, and repeat this pattern, alternating throughout the day. “When I was 23, I was so gung ho! I would do everything that I could to fix the world; not that I don’t feel that way now — I’m doing good work — but being out of college you want to do a good job and know that you are not going to fail. But compared to a 34-year-old, your priorities shift.” — Sokun B., Millennial

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