Everyone talks about age, but it's not about age. It's about work ethic. Winning never gets old.
And that’s the point. Millennials are our newest generation that we get to work with. They are way more connected than we ever have been. Millennials have been raised up being told, and believing that they can be anything in the world that they want. That they can DO anything in the world that they want. And now, they work with and around us.
Most business owners and leaders of the “older generation” don’t know how to relate or what to do with a millennial. The older generation isn’t nearly as connected, and feels that the communication gap is just too big. If this is you, and you think and act this way, stop. Right bloody now. These are our youth, and in reality, not much different than you and I when we were in the same place in our lives.
You have a gift and an opportunity to unleash a fresh and creative force. Millennials believe that they will change the world, so why not let them? You have a new opportunity of connection and understanding with the next generation right at your fingertips.
How do you connect with millennials, and what do they want and need?
- They want and need the truth. This connected generation can look up and research things faster than you can drink your first cup of coffee. Don’t try to manipulate and spin things with them. They’ll know it, and lose respect for you.
- Well defined boundaries. Let them know what is acceptable, and what is not. They are still learning and growing, so be the example. They will learn a lot from you and the others they work with. Don’t put up with older dirtbags, and you won’t turn your millennials into one themselves.
- Let them know that their opinions count. I’m not saying for you to give them free reign, but allow them to have a voice. They’’ have ways of looking and thinking that are WAY outside your own box.
- Give them something big to work towards. No one wants to invest their time and their lives on smallness. Show them that with you, they CAN change the world. The’ve been waiting to do this their whole lives!
- Don’t handle them with kid gloves. When you give them work, give them responsibility, and expect from them great things. They are craving responsibility and the chance to prove themselves. If you already embrace the idea that failures are a good thing (unless it kills you) then you will be giving them the keys to their own growth and success.
- Recognize them. This is how you speak their language. Throw out you six month reviews, and start doing small check-ups about once a month. If their doing a good job, tell them. And then stop. Don’t gush praise and treat them like a twelve year old. Use your big people words, but use them. Millennials are used to being given feedback, so give it.
- Have fun! This should transcend this topic of millennials, but it is now your opportunity to make the correction. Is your place of business a fun place to be? A healthy environment for anyone to work at? Do your people get along? Or, is it gossip filled, moody, and disgruntled? Fix it now!
There you are. A primer, or at least a way to get the conversation started with the next wave of innovators that are coming your way.