The Complete Idiot's Guide To Millennial’s As Employees
This is going to be a short blog...and to the point!
Firstly - Stop bagging out schools for not delivering the finished product when it comes to Gen Y or Z! We are all responsible for the education and the development of staff. We need to look at how we can add to it rather than just expecting them to be able to come in knowing how to do everything. Think of them as without the potentially bad, sloppy, habits of an experienced worker. You get to instil exactly how you want it done.
Personally - I do this whatever the ‘age’ or experience of the person. Obviously, I question to find out what they know and ask them to run through how they would deal with a situation and then clarify the bits that really fit our company values and processes and walk through any gaps that I’ve identified.
When you hire staff (especially Millennial’s), ensure they have at least 70% of the skills needed for the job, with a desire and attitude to acquire the last 30% (the actual job, not the advertisement). That will give you scope for them to stay in the role longer, that will give them growth and engagement by being challenged which gives them a connection to the job. Plus, you’ll be expecting to invest time in nurturing them and therefore won’t be trying to “leave them to it” after one week!
Ultimately, you'll have less staff turnover (and all the associated costs) as they'll (Millennial’s) will be inspired to stay longer - one of the biggest grumbles I hear about this demographic is lack of ‘commitment’ to the employer!
When hiring, always give their attitude and your culture as much consideration as qualifications. Ask yourself, do they have the attitude to learn, have they got the desire to learn, are they the right fit for the rest of the team? Most ‘problem’ employees - irrespective of age - were hired without these considerations. They ‘looked good on paper’ or had a skill that was desperately needed. After a few months, issues began but got ignored as they ‘did their job’. However, if other staff begin leaving, issues keep arising involving them...were they really a good fit?
One way to try and hire wisely is to look to strengths. Look at the strengths within the existing team and look at the strengths that you need. ie. We need someone with attention to detail as we can’t afford to send out low quality work. Younger workers can be just as stressed by technology as anyone else - don’t assume. Once a team is created, acknowledgment of the different strengths, work-styles and needs of the individuals will be necessary to begin a discussion and understanding of each other BEFORE issues arise.
If Colin is likely to email in the middle of the night, having a conversation around Colin being a night owl and whether the team are expected to reply at that time is useful. Also realising that people often feel obliged to respond if you email outside of work hours - may be Colin using a scheduler would be better? Whatever way you go, discuss it, get agreement and stick to it!
Be aware that people respond to different motivators. This can vary depending on age, life-stage, circumstances, goals, length in a role etc... Look at Daniel Pink's book ‘Drive’ for more on intrinsic motivation, and not being motivated by money or rewards.
Past a certain wage, there are things that many employees - of all ages - value more:
Having input into how things are done
Developing workplace relationships and connections
Career development and succession
Doing work with value and meaning
Having flexibility - location/times/role
Whatever the ‘age’, ask your employees/team what motivates them! Listening and acting upon this information is invaluable...there is never a substitute for developing a respectful working relationship with your employees, no matter when they were born.
Jo O’Donovan is the founder of Workplace Relationships, based in Melbourne. She works with companies to increase their productivity through focusing on their culture, people and relationships. Jo has a particular passion for improving the mental health of employees through developing the human connections within organisations and her new online course on Mental Health In The Workplace can be accessed here.