As fond as Millennials are of education and learning new things, there is one lesson most did not "master" when they were in school. As a group, they are not terribly comfortable with being told what to do -- they want to know why they should do it. They also want the freedom to find a better way; they want to use available technology to accomplish a goal rather than simply following a familiar (read outdated) path. This unique generation of young employees thrives on interaction and collaborative effort. They are much more comfortable working in groups than in isolation and, although they love praise, they will accept constructive criticism.
How to Nurture Your Millennials
The gap between generations is not new, but it is real. So, as we explore the needs of the upcoming generation of millennial building new hires, be sure to open your "management mindset" to the possibility that there is a way for both superiors and subordinates to thrive in a world that is changing faster than anyone ever imagined. Particularly in the building industry, the future may hinge on what we all can do today. Millennials, those young workers who were born into the era of exploding technology and came of age in a world where personal expression was revered, are now ready to "remake" the world. It doesn't have to be specifically the way they view it, but it has to make sense to them. If there's a way to make it better -- and that includes a better way to accomplish any particular end result -- they will be all in. Your young workers are apt to object to a strict taskmaster, however. They may not fight back, but they are apt to move on.
How to Find and Keep a Loyal Employee
If you're hoping to attract millennials and hire new employees you can count on for the long term, it might be wise to flip your expectations. As you define job descriptions for your employees, why not also take a look at your company culture?
Here's what your company job description ought to look like:
- Respect: It's a two-way street: Knowledge is important; experience is vital. But new blood is life-living. Listening -- on both sides -- is necessary.
- Work-Life Balance: A job is a part of life. But so are family, leisure time, friends, health and personal interests. All should be nourished.
- Teamwork: In a healthy company, we really are "all in this together." Demonstrate that philosophy.
- Leadership: Know the difference between an authoritarian style and an egalitarian approach. The buck has to stop somewhere, but that doesn't mean that different viewpoints should be quashed.
- Technology: Embrace it. Learn from the generation that helped produce it, lives with it daily, and can teach the older members of your team.
- Safety: Millennials believe in it. It's second nature to them; acknowledge their observance of required procedures.
- Opportunity: Learning never ends. Encourage the Millennial desire for ongoing education and personal development. Or begin an in-house educational seminar series on a monthly basis.
- Mentoring: Call it coaching or cheerleading or a return to the apprenticeships of the past. Everybody could use a role model. Be a good one!
- Feedback: Performance reviews do not have to be formal, put-in-the-personnel-file periodic reviews. In fact, Millennials would probably reject that formula. But constant feedback in the form of gentle suggestions that serve to instruct or correct, or sincere "Atta-boys" for good work can be just the thing to make your leaders-in-training shine.
- Finally, Lighten Up: Seriously, the future is at your doorstep. It's your duty to make it a good one.