How to Increase Productivity With a Millennial Workforce
A company whose workforce consists of millennials faces a unique set of challenges than a company employing mainly other generations. Millennials — or people born between 1980 and 2000 — make up 25 percent of the workforce in the United States. And by 2020, millennials will represent 50 percent of the entire global workforce. As millennials move more into corporate spaces, managers need to find ways to create a company culture that promotes the productivity of these workers. Here’s how:
Start With Technology
The way millennials comfortably engage with technology and smart devices is a defining characteristic of this generation. As millennials have had access to the internet for most of their lives, a fast-paced world with instant communication and feedback is the norm for them. And this works in their favor. Unlike older generations of workers, millennials are able to keep pace with the fast-evolving technology. A good manager must make the most of millennials’ understanding of technology by delegating the bulk of tech-related tasks to them.
In addition, since most millennials prefer to communicate via an electronic device when discussing business matters than face to face, a company’s managers may have to get used to communicating more through digital devices with their millennial workers. One idea is to set up office chat rooms with apps that can be used to track productivity and tasks. Rather than meeting for drawn-out discussions with their millennial employees, team leaders and managers can use such apps in the workplace.
In some cases, employers have found it beneficial to adapt their IT policy. They offer employee benefits such as smartphones and gadgets in the workplace. They also encourage the use of social media for business goals, assigning this younger generation to handle their digital marketing. This leads to innovation and faster progress.
Today’s CEOs must be willing to shift their mindset about what communication in the workplace means. If there are outdated and rigid work styles in place, a reboot of office habits and culture may be necessary. Here are some more practical tactics for engaging millennials and fostering productivity:
Learn the Millennial Digital Tools of the Trade
Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success,” says that managers need to adopt more tech tools. “You need to understand instant messaging, Skype, Google Hangouts, and social networks if you want to hire and manage this important demographic,” he writes. If employers are open to using digital tools, or web-enabled devices, for business communication, they are more likely to gain respect from their millennial workers.
Rethink Your Office Culture
If a corporate office space is open, inviting and appealing to this demographic of workers, they are more likely to focus on their tasks better. A few ideas to adapt office spaces to accommodate the needs of millennial workers include providing convenient charging stations for electronic devices and adding a gym on site (or paying for gym membership) for employee use after office hours. These are changes that appeal to a younger, energetic and forward-thinking generation.
Make the Office a Place to Look Forward To
Millennials have grown up more accustomed to the idea of work-life balance than previous generations. This is not the generation who thinks it is important to work nine to five for 30 years before finally retiring. Millennials have a different approach to life and career than the previous generations of workers. So, to promote the productivity of millennials, managers should strive to encourage a sense of community in the workplace through the use of online collaboration tools and office social activities. A combination of team building and a sense of fun at the office appeals to millennials.
Improve Communication With Millennials
Managers can inspire their millennial employees by being more accessible and approachable in their communication. Companies that hire millennials may want to invest in public speaking and communication courses to give their workers more value.
Some millennials may be lacking real communication skills simply because their lives are so device-driven. One good way to invest in millennials is through teaching them valuable interpersonal skills. As one millennial said: “I have a million virtual conversations every day, but I often find it’s exhausting having to talk to people face-to-face, to make eye contact and speak in complete sentences.”
Jim Link, chief human resources officer at Randstad North America, says that millennials in today’s workplace have a desire to make a good contribution to society. “They like to be tied in directly with leaders,” says Link. “They’re looking for a leader who is communicative and able to share mission and vision and values, and how those things tie in with the work that they’re doing and with the work of the corporation.”
The success of a company depends largely on the passion and productivity of its workers. No matter what level or generation in the workforce, each must be engaged and willing to make the company’s vision a reality.
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