Each generation brings a new approach to the art of management. Generation Y — more commonly called the Millennial generation — is no different. Well, actually they are different in key aspects, and that turns out to be a positive thing in many cases.
In the past few years, Millennials (generally identified as those born between 1981 and 1996) have become the largest segment of the U.S. population and now represent the largest portion of the U.S. workforce. They are on their way to becoming the biggest force in management today, leaving the Boomers and Gen Xers in their dust. So, what exactly do people in their 20s and early 30s bring to the world of management? Here are a few trends:
A shift in measuring employee performance. Research shows that Millennial managers are more likely to measure employee performance not by how many hours are spent in the office but by key performance metrics and hard data. This age group definitely embraces the idea of work-life balance and the “work smarter, not harder” mantra. As a group, Millennials also are much more open to and desire flexible working arrangements — including telecommuting.
An understanding of Millennial workers. Millennial managers know that many young adults want regular feedback and do not want to wait for a yearly performance review to hear how they’re doing. Providing feedback early and often is a great idea with any age group!
Technology savvy. Millennials are significantly more tech-savvy than their older counterparts, both as innovators and consumers. Millennials are the only generation to have grown up with social media. Social media is now a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Many Millennials know the ins and outs of multiple social platforms.
Enthusiasm. Studies show that Millennials are more enthusiastic about their jobs than are Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. When leaders are enthusiastic, it instills a positive workplace culture that trickles down to the entire staff.
In the end, generational stereotypes are just that — broad generalizations. Get to know each potential employee and keep an open mind to what they can bring to the table.