- Lack of autonomy
Millennials need to know that they have the opportunity and elbow room to do bring their creativity and thought-process to the table. Micro-management and rigid processes will make them feel that their thoughts are not valued at the workplace. To engage them better, keep their minds engaged on invention as much as execution. Give them to opportunity to present new thoughts and provide feedback.
- Lack of impact
Millennials need to know that they are making a dent in the ecosystem and that their presence is not merely redundant to the system. It is thus essential that before projects, the kick of meeting must include the possible impact of the project on clients, team, themselves and also to the people at large. When millennials see purpose in an activity, they do it with enhanced vigour.
- Lack of feedback
Millennials need to know what they did well and how can they do better, faster. If your team discusses feedback formally only during the yearly appraisal cycles, there’s a good chance millennials won’t stick around for long. Rather, make time for having more continuous feedback, perhaps multiple times within a project cycle. It might include investment of time but it is better RoI vis-a-vis the hiring and training costs due to higher employee churn.
- Lack of training
Many hiring professionals I have interacted with love to use the phrase “they need to hit the ground running”. While that might be a fair expectation considering the nature of business, millennials do not appreciate doing something they don’t feel adequately prepared for. They need to feel confident that they are equipped to perform the task that is expected of them. Invest in formal and informal training to instill millennials with the confidence that they are equipped with the arsenal to perform more effectively.
- Time based vs performance based approach
Millennials do not appreciate a culture where warming a chair for more hours is rewarded more than better performance. Many workplaces have a pseudo-belief that they are purely performance based but yet have an actual bias towards employees who sit back for longer hours. Cultures need to explore and actively discourage over-working and should encourage employees to complete their tasks within usual office timings. Millennials appreciate having flexible timing and having control over when and how they can complete tasks.
- Lack of Respect
A manager told a young hire at my previous company “You aren’t married, why do you need to get back home earlier?” The young hire felt severely discouraged that his personal life was not being adequately respected. Millenials might have different priorities as compared to baby-boomers but they value them as much, if not more. When you respect their priorities, they will respect yours.
- 20th Century rules
Millenials do not appreciate 20th century rules and process and want things to move faster. Processes like lack of flexibility to work from home, stick check in and check out timings and having an intricate process to do expense claims are minor irritants that develop fatigue and impact their performance. Aim to make your necessary processes more lean and if possible, invite inputs of people impacted by processes before making the decision.
It is time that workplaces realise that criticising the ‘millennial way’ will not help. They need to adapt the workplace and processes to suit them and not expect it the other way around. With the soon to follow Gen-Z who are expected to be even more pronounced in their behaviours, requirements and speed vis-a-vis millennials, traditional workplaces need to buckle up because there seems to be some turbulence ahead.