Speaking as a Millennial (#GenerationX/Y) and someone that has employed in the region of 17 Millennials over the past 11 years I hear a lot of good advice and crap advice about “engaging” Millennials in the workplace.

Firstly they are Human beings and while bloody difficult to manage at times the same Principles of Human Relations applies as they always have and always will.

But Expectations have certainly changed, I watched a video today titled “3 Tips to Engage Millennials” or similar and all 3 tips were I’ afraid to say without merit.

One thing mentioned in the Video was to let your Millennial staff to work from home, well I’d say given the amount of Millennial Bar Staff working out there today my Bar Owner customers and friends are going to really struggle with that one, if there’s a good reason to work from home such as a long commute etc then I’m all for it but having a base of operations and a team to bounce ideas off is invaluable. And it’s got to make economic sense, productivity WILL suffer if anyone works from home Millennial or not so it’s got to have benefits in other areas to counteract the Productivity loss.

In 1986 Pixar famously put the bathrooms right where different departments would bump into each other, share ideas and anecdotes and ignite creativity. And did it work? We all know the answer to that.

Don’t get me wrong we’ve had issues with employing Millennial staff and I’ll be the first to admit it’s a hard slog to engage the vast majority, I have failed a few staff members in my approach to managing and getting a performance from them and that’s my fault as much as theirs for not pulling their weight. But as mentioned above expectations have changed, we’re pushed out of School now with no real discussion on what’s expected of how to get ahead. In fact I would go so far as to say current education is failing School leavers in it’s inability to address what the real working world is about.

Who wouldn’t love a bean bag instead of a chair or a slide rather than stairs? Who wouldn’t love to get a promotion after 7 months and make a real “impact”? The difference is in expectation and the real challenge with Millennials is managing those expectations.

So here’s my 3 Tips for Managing Millennials

  • Manage Expectations

Have a structured and minuted meeting about both yours and their expectations, and send them a copy of what’s agreed and refer to it when situations arise (which they will)

  • Give positive feedback often and save the negative for structured meetings

One of the issues with a lot of school leavers / young people is the messages communicated to them about winning for taking part, unfortunately results are the only currency in business and you don’t get a medal for taking part, therefore criticism doesn’t wash and actually goes against their ingrained programming that they get an award for turning up.

  • Engage

Listen to their ideas and discuss at length, this is a great way of not only shaping your business through the eyes of the people that will be buying your products and services in 10 years but a brilliant way to remap some of that internal programming we spoke about above, but be open minded and encourage them to do the same.

Hopefully you like my tips and don’t think it’s tosh like the video I just watched, either way let me know I’d love to “discuss”