5 Tips for Coaching Millennial Employees

Millennials are now the largest generation, with more than 95 million members. And Millennials in the workplace have become a hot topic of conversation in recent years.

They’re hardworking and driven, or they’re lazy and entitled. They’re more loyal to brands, but less loyal to jobs. They’d rather be fulfilled than well-paid: 64% would rather earn $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they find unfulfilling.

coaching Millennial employees

Clearly, there’s a lot of conflicting information going around about Millennial employees. One of the most pervasive opinions, though, is that they have a lack of drive, a lack of work ethic, and a sense of entitlement when it comes to professional advancement.

Of course, some Millennials are lazy, entitled and apathetic. But so are some Boomers. The truth is that Millennials are just like any other group of employees – to work hard and perform well, they need to be effectively managed and motivated.

Below are 5 tips for managing, motivating and coaching Millennial employees that will help you develop valuable staff members – no matter what generation they’re in.

1. Embrace the challenge

In reality, many millennials are brilliant and talented twenty- and thirty-somethings who thrive in stimulating work cultures. However, they may require more encouragement and acknowledgment than previous generations. They like – and expect –feedback about their performance, even down to individual tasks. And above all, they require near-constant stimulation.

With continuous and open communication, Millennials typically meet and even exceed expectations imposed by their employers. But in a buttoned-up culture or a stagnant work environment, they tend to become disengaged, lose interest, and fail to progress or perform. Boredom is a Millennial’s worst enemy. The solution? Create and maintain a company culture that values innovation, stimulation and hard work – and don’t forget fun.

2. Encourage the group approach

Millennials grew up in a social age, and they thrive in social, communicative, and collaborative environments. Their willingness to socialize becomes especially apparent when they work in groups or on teams. Millennials easily relate to each other and to other people, and they’re not shy about seeking help and support. In fact, 88% of Millennials say that they prefer collaboration to competition.

This desire for community and collaboration creates a sense of comradery that can be incredibly effective when it comes to time-sensitive tasks, goal-oriented projects and teamwork. Make sure your employees – Millennials and otherwise – know that you both allow and encourage them to work together, and you’ll likely see better performance.

3. Provide the tools they need

Millennials are hungry for knowledge, challenge and self-improvement. And they’re used to using technology to accomplish those things. In fact, as Nielsen says, “technology is essentially baked into every Millennial’s DNA.” That’s why it’s necessary to provide the technology and tools Millennials need to excel at work.

In addition to top-of-the-line technology, Millennials are also motivated by opportunities for training and advancement. Make it easy for them to learn about the ins and outs of your business, and about other positions within your company. Give them access to online training sessions, webinars, or conferences. Continuous learning helps stimulate Millennial brains, resulting in increased work performance.

4. Communicate expectations

Communicating expectations and regulations is important for all workers, but especially for Millennials. It’s okay – and even preferable – to set the bar high, but you need to clear about it. Spell out incentives, penalties, deadlines and workplace policies. Hold regular staff meetings and send out periodic email updates to keep everyone on the same page.

You can also use these platforms as an opportunity to publicly recognize Millennials who go above and beyond. This method of acknowledgment lets Millennials know their efforts are appreciated – and it motivates their peers to achieve the same level of excellence.

5. Meet Millennials halfway

Millennials are motivated by different things than previous generations. That doesn’t mean you need to completely change your workplace culture and organizational processes, but you should try to meet them halfway – after all, Millennials will make up more and more of the workforce in coming years.

Meeting Millennials halfway doesn’t only mean in the workplace, either. Perhaps the generation gap can be best addressed by interacting and communicating with Millennials other outside work. Create long-lasting relationships, both with each other and with the community. Being authentic, ethical and honest is a great way to attract and retain great employees – Millennial or not.

The last word

Managing Millennials can be a big challenge. But do it well, and you could see big rewards. With proper guidance and support, managers can create teams of devoted and highly skilled employees from any generation.

Quick-thinking, high-energy, motivated individuals are highly sought after in every industry. And that’s exactly what many Millennial employees are. The key to attracting them and helping them – and your company – grow? Never-ending challenge, recognition and appreciation.

Photo credit: Ryan McGuire

Abbey Perkins

Abby Perkins writes about people, technology, and HR software for Talent Tribune.When she’s not writing about she enjoys reading novels, trying new foods, and playing with her dog, Jasper. She can be found at @_abbytweets and @talent_tribune.

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