You most often hear negative stereotypes about millennials. They are lazy. They want more pay for less work. They are entitled. They lack communication skills. They are job-hoppers. Hearing these and so many others shared all the time both anecdotally among business leaders and in articles found in every business publication, it can be difficult to get excited about the next generation of employees. But just like every generation that came before them, Millennials bring positive and negative things to the workplace. For now, we want to focus on the positive and a recent article in Entrepreneur does just that. Here are five ways that Millennial employees can positively impact your organization:
They have a disruptive mindset.
You have likely heard the buzzword “disruptor” many times in the business world. It usually refers to a product, person or company that changes the way we think about an industry. They are usually start-up companies that manage to unseat the giants in their industry due to their innovative ideas.
Millennials are natural disruptors. They question the status quo and are constantly wondering if things could be done better. There is likely a great source of new ideas bubbling right beneath the surface of your Millennial employees. To gain access to their insights, all you need to do is ask. Encourage employees to share their ideas and provide guidance and support to vet these ideas and move those that are most valuable into action.
They value experiences.
More than any other generation they understand the importance of the customer’s experience with your brand. Allow Millennials to share their thoughts on how you can improve the user experience with the product or service.
They are digitally savvy.
Most Millennials grew up with technology all around them/. Most have computers in their homes and schools and cell phones from a very young age. Use this to your advantage when you’re looking at ways to improve your products, services, or even your internal processes with technology. You can also implement a reverse-mentoring program, where younger, more technically-savvy employees help those employees that may have a harder time getting up to speed on a new piece of technology.
Millennials also grew up in the age of social media. They likely have a keen understanding of the platforms and how you might be able to best reach your customers there.
They care about your purpose.
Millennials aren’t really concerned with having fun at work as many might think. What really creates staying power for most millennial employees is having a purpose at work. Understanding the impact that one’s work has on their company, community and the world is important to them. You know why you went into business, so share that with your team often and allow them to spread that message.
They want leadership.
The stereotype of Millennials being lazy or lacking focus presents a great opportunity for business leaders. Though they may have lacked this in their childhood and young adult like, they really do want structure and accountability. Set high expectations for all employees and hold them accountable. Lead by example. Set high expectations for yourself and hold yourself accountable. Fairness matters greatly to Millennials, so make sure that you fairly assign work and communicate clearly what it takes to succeed.
There is no avoiding the fact that Millennials will soon be taking over the workforce, and in many industries, they already have. Rather than have a negative attitude about that prospect, we hope that small business leaders will see the opportunities that Millennial employees bring to the organization.
Want to learn more about this important part of our workforce? Check out our on-demand webinar, Unleashing Millennials with special guest speaker Ben Galvin (PhD), Assistant Professor in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University who has done extensive research on leadership, management and unleashing the power of millennials.