Do You Mismanage Millennials?
Mismanagement is the process of managing something poorly. I would also say mismanagement could be created through ignorance or lack of knowledge of how to manage. When managing a person or a group, it should be understood that everyone is different and needs to be managed differently. One such group in question is Millennials.
According to Pathlight, the biggest mistakes managers make when managing Millennials are varied. This group of workers is an upcoming force, as they are on track to comprise up to 75% of the workforce by 2025. A few mistakes managers make with Millennials are misunderstanding why Millennials work, which is to make a difference within their organization; saving feedback for quarterly reviews when goal-oriented Millennials prefer continuous feedback; and setting vague expectations instead of clear goals and expectations.
Other mistakes managers make include lacking flexibility within your work environment as millennials thrive on flexibility and underinvesting in professional development, which is very important to millennials. If you cannot satisfy their needs, they will quickly seek employment elsewhere.
Forbes stated that Millennials now account for more than 53 million workers in the U.S. There are a few principles that leaders must keep in mind to manage Millennials successfully. These are understanding what motivates Millennials such as focusing on the mission of the organization rather than professional recognition and assuming Millennials are only interested in technology for purposes of play as they want to use technology for professional purposes.
Other key principles include failing to create and maintain a meaningful working environment; assuming all young people are alike and can be managed the same, which in fact is a wrong assumption; and underinvesting in employee training, as Millennials are interested in career growth opportunities. Managers need to build professional development into the daily life of a Millennial employee.
Millennials are now likely to be the most studied generation in history. Around the world, Millennial behavior, beliefs and attitudes are examined. Managers need to apply knowledge of how to lead this growing workforce. Many leaders are struggling to inspire this generation that is the most educated and most culturally diverse generation in history. Managers need to learn from the mistakes of managing Millennials.
Millennials want more face-to-face time at work on a regular basis and desire a mentor-mentee relationship. Millennials also greatly value being appreciated and seek a positive, enjoyable working atmosphere over financial compensation. They need to believe their work leads to a higher purpose. Employees of this generation push for work-life balance and flexible working hours. They dislike being micromanaged. They crave professional development as they are naturally curious employees.
If you want to manage instead of mismanage this generation of workers, according to the IESE Business School, launch nine new guidelines today:
- Provide opportunities for learning and development.
- Offer a balance between personal and professional life.
- Money isn’t everything — customizing their compensation package.
- Make way for more movement.
- Be mentors, not bosses.
- Create a strong company culture.
- Recognize their need for recognition in their own way.
- Take the good with the bad as they like to promote themselves.
- Don’t disconnect the digital natives — let them use technology.
According to Nonprofit HR, Millennial retention tactics for nonprofits include finding out what kind of culture your Millennial talent actually wants and give it to them; provide a vehicle for Millennial talent to give meaningful feedback; evolve your approach to performance management but don’t overthink it; and put reverse mentorship programs in place at all levels by having different generations share ideas and concepts with each other.
As this workforce continues to grow, your organization must adapt and be prepared to manage the expectations and preferences of up to five generations at once. With respect to Millennials, make learning about this group and adjusting to this group a priority.
Do you mismanage Millennials? One size does not fit everyone. Realize each person is unique, and seek to understand what each employee needs. Seek to be flexible in your management style, and obtain feedback from each member of your team.
I feel I probably mismanaged Millennials at times during my career, but not on purpose. I was not taking the time to undertake greater research to better understand how to manage this complex group. It is critical that you manage well. Strive for a positive work environment, focus on the organizational mission and learn to be more flexible. Management is a changing concept and it is becoming more complex. To thrive instead of just survive, you better seek to be a proactive manager instead of a reactive manager — beginning today!
F. Duke Haddad is currently associate director of development, director of campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC in Fishers, Indiana.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 12 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.