There are more than 56 million Millennials either actively participating in the workforce, or searching for a job. With a number like this, it’s no surprise that Millennials have taken the workplace by storm. But what is surprising is how different this generation is from their predecessors. They rely heavily on technology and prefer to communicate via text or email rather than a traditional phone call. Managing millennial employees can be a challenge — how can executives do a better job of keeping Millennials happy and productive?

Offer learning and leadership opportunities

Ninety-one percent of Millennials have a desire to lead. Whether it’s leading a project or a specific team in their organization, Millennials thrive on the opportunity to take charge and show off their skills. While some may view leadership as a way to stroke their ego, many see it as a strategic career development tool. When offering leadership development to employees, managers should utilize a combination of mentorship and online learning, such as a learning management system. Millennials have been exposed to technology their entire lives and will appreciate these online tools, but still desire the instant feedback from face to face interaction. Failure to provide proper continued education opportunities could result in high turnover from your millennial workforce, especially when you take into account that 62 percent of Millennials consider leaving their jobs due to a lack of learning and development opportunities.

Feedback should be instant

As mentioned above, Millennials seek instant feedback from mentors. In fact, they crave feedback 50 percent more than older generations. Managers need to keep in mind that Millennials grew up with technology at their fingertips. Nearly everything provided instant answers and gratification making them more transparent and open to receiving criticism and praise. In order to satisfy this desire, managers should use technology to solve the problem. Using an online human resources platform where managers can upload feedback for an employee to view is one option to streamline the review process. Fostering an environment centered around mentorship rather than management will open new lines of communication between employees and managers and give employees the chance to feel comfortable asking for feedback when desired. 

Support work-life balance

Vacation and time off are relaxing and rejuvenating times for an employee, but currently, 42 percent of employees feel obligated to check in with work while out of the office. Let’s face it — no one wants to be answering work emails and taking client calls when they’re trying to unwind and spend time with their families. Unfortunately, this is the direction the workforce is moving. Millennials are entering a time in their lives where they want to settle down and focus more on their loved ones, but the workload continues to increase. On a lighter note, managers who make work-life balance a priority have a one up in the recruiting and retention process. According to the 2016 Millennial Survey by Deloitte, 16.8 percent of Millennials evaluate career opportunities by good work-life balance. To create a workplace culture centered around solving this issue, managers should offer, and encourage the use of remote work days, competitive vacation packages, and other similar incentives.

As we enter a more competitive recruiting landscape, it’s important to keep employees happy, especially the dominant demographic of Millennials. By providing substantial growth opportunities, instant feedback, and a focus on work-life balance, managers will find themselves forming better — and longer — relationships with their millennial employees.

Jason Carney is HR director at WorkSmart Systems.

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