Managing Millennials Doesn't Have to be Complicated

Julie Shenkman
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According to the Pew Research Center, as of mid-2015, millennials have surpassed Generation X as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Learning how to manage millennials is a leadership strategy that can help you successfully build teams and grow your company. Unfortunately, due to stereotypes, millennials have gotten a reputation for being whiny, lazy and demanding. The key is to not focus on these negative stereotypes. Instead, learn what motivates these workers.

When you manage millennials, you get the opportunity to work with a generation of people who are passionate. This group seeks rewarding experiences and desires work-life alignment. You can manage millennials by motivating them in several ways: recognize their hard work, provide a work environment that stimulates their creativity, provide a healthy environment that promotes well-being and reward them for their efforts. Get to know your employees on a personal level to determine how to follow through on these motivations.

Recognition and Rewards

There is the perception that all millennials are trophy lovers, but this is a misnomer. Not all millennials want a trophy. As you manage millennials, you'll find that recognition in the form of a compliment or thank you note is appreciated. For some, this recognition is more than enough. For others, you could announce their accomplishments at a staff meeting or make note in the company monthly newsletter. Talk to your employees and find out what makes them feel valued. Millennials are referred to as the special generation and have been raised to feel that way. Many of their parents and teachers have reiterated how special they are, and this makes them feel comfortable and needed. Millennials also like to be rewarded for their hard work, which is another form of recognition. Rewards could be gift cards, extra time off, a raise or any opportunity that makes millennials feel special.

Stimulation and a Healthy Environment

Many employees want to work for a company that challenges them. Giving people a purpose helps them feel connected to each other and the company. Generational diversity also provides the opportunity for more stimulation. Manage millennials by partnering them with co-workers from other generations to stimulate more innovation and encourage different insights. Offer your employees the opportunity to take on new projects or tasks that challenge them. Healthy office competition can also be stimulating and result in more ways to recognize employee efforts. Employees who feel stimulated and challenged have a more positive attitude, which results in a healthier work environment. Morale is higher and feelings are more positive when people want to come to work.

Forget about the negative stereotypes that may make you think you can't manage millennials effectively. Instead, get to know your employees as individuals, and find out what motivates them to want to do the very best job they can for your business.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


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