Millennials do expect more of their bosses than other generations of workers. They want their bosses to mentor them. They want employee evaluations to critique them in such a way that they develop a plan for personal and professional growth.
Moreover, they need more affirmation than other workers. Employers who want to keep their workforce instead of continuing the same pattern of turnover need to be prepared to give more pats on the back than they may be used to.
Baby boomers and Generation Xers tend to work well in solitude. Not so with millennials. They went to school at a time when educators were beginning to see the value of group work. To them, nothing was a contest. The rule of the game was collaboration.
This team spirit that millennials have can be of great value to employers, as long as they recognize the need to put millennials in teams. Brainstorming sessions can be incredibly productive, as long as there is a strategy to follow up and make sure that ideas are being turned into reality.
Millennials don’t need their bosses to tell them they are unique. They know they are special. They spent the first 18+ years of their lives hearing that from their parents.
What they want is for employers to recognize their skills and talents and put them to use. The millennial who majored in English needs to have a role in drafting corporate communications, even if that wasn’t part of the original job description. The artist needs to be able to use those art skills whenever possible. Giving those tasks to someone else will burn.
Millennials need to work for a boss who sees them as more than a worker. They need a boss who calls them by the first name and recognizes them as individual people who have lives outside of work. While the boss may not be keeping up with all of their travel plans, he or she needs to show some kind of interest in their lives.
Many baby boomers and Generation Xers have long been happy to go to work, sit down at a desk, and only interact with people whenever necessary. Their relationships are at home. For millennials, human connection is the key to everything that they do. It unlocks their abilities.
Millennials are the kindest generation in the history of humanity, and employers need to adapt in such a way that recognizes the different impulses they have. They’re likely to spend part of their salary on a charitable cause or spend time volunteering.
When millennials realize they are appreciated, they will outperform any other employees. And even better, they will bring other workers up with them. They’ll set a standard and help others rise to it by assisting other people on their teams.
The high turnover rate of millennial workers is due to a lot of factors, some of which simply cannot be controlled. They inherited a bad economy and graduated with an excessive amount of student loan debt. They may quit a job simply because they cannot afford their loan payments and need to move back in with their parents.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways that companies can engage with millennials. Employers that let millennials know they are committed to them will find that, in turn, the millennial workers are committed to the company. There may need to be changes in how bosses engage with workers, but in the long run, the result will be greater worker satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.