If we had a dollar for every time we were asked that question… Our advice is pretty simple. One of the keys to succeeding with Millennials begins with strong EQ – Emotional Intelligence. Although it sometimes may not feel like it, they are people. Just like us. They have preferences for how they like to communicate, solve problems and get results. Think about the worst boss you ever had. What made them someone you did not want to work for? Was it their communication style? Were they a micro-manager? Did you feel like they did not get/value you?
EQ related issues are a major factor in employee turnover. Do they feel valued? Understood? Are they receiving feedback? Do they see where their career is headed and why? Do they feel they “fit”?
Strong EQ starts with self-knowledge. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you need time to think? Time to prepare? Need to talk things out?
The second step to strong EQ is the acknowledgment that others solve problems and get results differently.
The third step to strong EQ is a willingness and ability to adapt your style.
The biggest mistake we see with our clients in working with Millenials is when leaders expect their team to work in the same fashion as they do. “That’s the way I did it” does not resonate with Millennials. They want to be treated as the unique individuals they are.
We recommend you sit down and get to know them better. Which parts of their job do they find easy? Which parts do they find challenging? Why? What kind of support can you provide to improve their success? It may feel like coddling, it is really about better understanding how they “fit”. Their fit to the role, the culture, and the rewards. The better you understand their strengths and needs and appreciate how they prefer to work, the more success they will have in the role. If possible try to align their role/work/rewards with their strengths rather than try to put a square peg in a round hole.
Employers need to be willing to adapt to the strengths of the individual rather than force them to fit into your structure. When things are forced, they tend to break. It may feel like Millenials need more care and feeding than we would like to give them, however, in most cases, they really want clarity regarding expectations and reassurance that they are valued. Which, in our experience, is what most employees want.