Common Issues With Onboarding Millennials
In the next five years, Millennials, also known as the generational cohort behind Generation X, will be taking over almost half of the corporate jobs in America.
You may need to let that daunting fact sink in considering this unique generation of individuals typically have an unflattering reputation in the workplace.
From being called lazy and defiant to immature and apathetic, the gap between millennials and their older coworkers can appear strikingly obvious at times. So much so, that it has even been spoofed on Saturday Night Live.
How To Onboard A Millennial
All texting, Facebooking, and selfie-ing aside, the creativity, perspective, talent and freshness that millennials bring to the table can be extremely advantageous to a business.
The key to onboarding millennials is to provide them with the right tools and leadership while honing on their skills and capitalizing on their strengths. The following are the top issues that businesses face when onboarding millennials and how to make the process smoother.
“Now” Isn’t Soon Enough
In a world where you can order a pizza via text, even instant gratification doesn’t seem soon enough to most millennials. They want it now, and if not now, then within reach of their (Googling) fingertips. As a leader hoping to effectively manage their millennial employees, you must understand that resources need to be readily available at all times.
Instead of simply giving them a handbook with company policies and procedures, audibly state them. Millennials need it to be given to them straight. If there is a deadline or project goal, be sure to fully communicate that to your employees – several times so it doesn’t fall off their (overcrowded and overstimulated) radar.
Get Them Acclimated To The Office
If you’ve ever walked into a Starbucks, you may have noticed that the majority of 20-somethings have their heads down in their phones as their triple shot non-fat extra foam latte sits cooling on the counter.
Make no mistake, they are socializing. In most cases, millennials would much rather text than talk on the phone, and email rather than have a face-to-face conversation. As a manager, getting your millennial employees to take an active part in the office culture and getting them to socialize can be difficult.
The trick is to focus on them individually. Instead of addressing them as part of a group orientation, consider a less formal approach. Additionally, be sure to have specific directions as most millennials are used to having linear steps given to them.
Offer Work/Life Balance
If there’s one thing millennials value (maybe even a little too much) is their free time. Although they want to work and contribute to the company, they also very much want to have a flexible schedule that allows them to follow their passions, hobbies, and twitter accounts.
As a manager, if you are able to give them a little more flexibility with their schedule, such as coming in later and staying later, or offering personal time off once in a while, you’ll find your employees will feel a lot better about coming to work and more devoted to their job.
When possible, allow certain parts of their personal life to extend into the office culture such as lifting dress codes, and allowing them to listen to music as they work.
Be A Leader Instead Of An Authority Figure
Unlike the employees of yesteryear, millennials are often hesitant to respect authority. This is especially true if their first impressions of a manager or supervisor are rough from the start.
However, when a millennial sees their boss as a leader, one who they can respect and learn from, then their attitudes completely change and they can be some of the most respectful and loyal employees in the office.
If you can get your employees to think of you more as a mentor than an authority figure, not only will they like you and trust you, they will genuinely appreciate your help. It’s true that millennials have more guidance in their lives than the generations before them. The hands-on approach is how their teachers, coaches and parents have explained everything to them.
If you manage in the same way to get your point across to them, they will adapt quicker and they will be more productive. If you don’t have the time to mentor them directly, consider assigning them to someone in the office who can and keep the communication open.
Despite millennials being a completely different breed of employee, they have so much potential to grow and thrive with the company. Although they might not fit the previously defined profile of what an ideal employee should be, if you identify their personality and tailor your approach to fit their needs, they can become the greatest aspects of your business.
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