Are you a business owner that is frustrated with your lack of understanding of what drives and motivates Generation Y? Do you find a big disconnect between yourself and the younger generation? If you are like most business owners, you either have a number of Millennials currently working for you in your business, or perhaps many of them are your customers. While you may be currently frustrated and scratching your head with Generation Y, their influence and impact on your business success is undeniable. With 80 million Americans born between the early 80’s and the early 2000’s, they are not only taking over the workforce, but they are also starting to dominate your customer base. Not only is it imperative to your business success that you know how to motivate and lead this generation, it’s also important to understand their model of the world so that you can successfully market to them. Here are some key things to focus on that will help you better manage and motivate Millennials so that you can take your business to the next level:
Key #1 – Understand Their Model of the World
We all have certain beliefs or “truths” that we live by, most of which were influenced by how we were raised and the environment that we grew up in. The Millennials have such a vastly different model of the world than other generations do simply because they have grown up in a vastly different world. Whether it’s growing up with the Internet, technology advances such as the smartphone, or social media venues which allow them to have a worldwide platform from which to communicate, all of these things have had a huge influence on their beliefs and rules for how things work. Combine that with living through the Internet and real estate bubbles, the banking crisis, and September 11th, Millennials have had numerous life altering events that have influenced how they view things, and certainly how they live. Having a keen understanding of this is imperative if you want to understand why they do things and where they are coming from.
Key Coaching Tip – Take the time to understand their “model of the world” by getting to know them at a deep level, asking them questions from a curious perspective and putting yourself in their shoes before judging them. This will give you a deeper understanding of where they are coming from, and what ultimately drives their behaviors.
Key #2 – Understand What Their Values Are
Millennials have much different values then previous generations. Because of the environment that they grew up in, they find immense value in being engaged, having a purpose, and collaboration. They love to work together in teams, and value being respected and having a say in things. They are also extremely motivated in growth and forward progress, and want to know that what they are working on is making a difference in the world. They live in the moment and therefore value instant gratification. They also place a high value on feedback and recognition, and are very coachable and value mentoring.
Key Coaching Tip – The #1 most important thing to Millennials is to be valued and respected. If you lead them in a way that shows you value and respect them, and focus on mentoring, coaching, feedback and recognition you’ll get the most from them.
Key #3 – Be Flexible
The key to successfully leading Millennials is to be flexible in your approach. What works with other generations many times won’t work will this generation. Understanding their model of the world and what they value can be tremendously helpful if you want to get the most from Millennials in the workforce. However, that’s just a starting point. Simple things like being flexible with working hours, providing frequent feedback, providing more frequent (and perhaps smaller) promotions, and giving them additional responsibilities will also go a long way to getting the most from this generation.
Key Coaching Tip – One of the top things that you can do as a leader if you want to get the most from your Millennials (or any generation for that matter) is to work on your listening skills. As I mentioned above, Millennials want to be valued and respected first and foremost, and the best way to do this is to really listen to what they have to say. This will not only give you a better understanding of where they are coming from, but you might just learn something from them!
If you keep these 3 key tips in mind when working with Millennials, you just might find that the most frustrating generation of employees may become your best employees!