A shift is about to happen in the global workforce: just in four years, every second employee will belong to generation Y (millennials, who were born between 1981 and 2000) and soon replace baby-boomers who are about to retire (if they can or want to). Even though this demographic change is becoming unavoidably visible most companies are still utilizing traditional and formal ways of managing and training.
So, how bosses should alter their management styles and how the HR department should alter their training to suit the expectations of upcoming generations?
- Keep in mind that they are the first tech-savvy generation and they do not tolerate the half-day long sessions of presentations, especially if they don’t know how they can benefit from it in the long run. Use social media, online learning packages or even gamification to make your training more engaging. The advantage of gamified learning is, that it provides immediate feedback and besides serving as a measuring tool it also can help developing certain skills.
- Let them choose how what and when they want to learn: this again requires using online learning opportunities that give them the chance to learn at their pace.
- Be upfront and talk them face to face. Even though you might have the impression that this generation understands only online communication you might find that actually, they prefer in-person communication when it comes to topics such as personal development and career advancement.
- Give them the opportunity of reversed mentoring: for example, millenials can get a peek view into higher levels of the organization, see how leaders think and act while they are teaching senior employees for using social media. This kind of mentoring has an advantage for both parties: senior executives can gain an understanding of their younger workforce, while the young mentors can get advice, feedback, coaching, and possibility of career advancement.
- Make sure to give them honest, upfront, direct, detailed, timely and useful feedback or even coaching. People of the younger generation are craving for the opportunities to extend their skills and capabilities, to grow as an employee and as a person as well continuously.
- Be prepared for the contradiction between the need of socializing, getting to know peers and the need for freedom and flexible working hours and working from remote spaces. Millenials know that there are a lot of jobs and tasks that require only a good internet connection but not a fixed, tedious cubicle.
- If you want them to get engaged at work, make sure that your company has a reputation for social responsibility: give them the opportunity for volunteering or donating to a good cause.
- Set frameworks but let them to discover, to use their curiosity and maintain control of their own destiny while solving problems or learning from training.
- Think of millennials as the ones who push for those changes that actually every generation want to see happen: continuously learn and grow.