Managing Millennials – Tips for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, one of the most pivotal aspects of your job is management – specifically of people. Subsequently, one of the largest groups of people you must learn to manage are members of the Millennial generation. This includes people born between 1982 and 2002. These tips below are intended to help you learn the fine art of managing millennials.
In fact, according to the Washington Post, 2016 was the first year “millennials surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation.” Millennials already number 75.3 million. There will be more and more of them in your place of business – so it is vital you take advantage of their strengths.
Tara Wolckenhauer, DVP of Human Resources for Human Capital Management, explains: “with the incredible influx of Gen Y (millennial) employees entering the workforce over the next several years, it is crucial…companies prepare and ready themselves for transformational changes. These changes will encompass all elements of the business paradigm: recruiting, tenure, total rewards, engagement, recognition, [and] customer service.”
In other words: adapt, or die. But it doesn’t have to be that dire! Here are some tips from the experts.
Connecting with Millennials
One of the first things to consider in order to have beneficial interactions with the younger generation and more effectively manage your millennial employees is to integrate yourself and your small business into the world of social media. Millennials were truly the first generation to grow up in a heavily technology saturated world – so for them, social media has become an essential part of their world.
Let’s examine just one example of how powerful social media engagement can be. The blog Inc. claims “over 70 percent of Millennials have friended their manager and co-workers on social media.” This means companies are able to connect with millennials – both inside and outside their businesses – causing them to feel included and connected to your goods and/or services.
Also, involve your millennial employees in your business’s social media presence. This can include monitoring your social media accounts, posting photos and other business activities and inviting customers to engage on social media. You’ll find most millennials will approach these with enthusiasm and will add to their job satisfaction.
Once millennials feel connected – it is important to emphasize how your small business is making the world a better place. “92% of Millennials believe business should be about more than just [simply] profits” – show them how this is true of your small business. For example, involve them in any local charity or sponsorship events your small business may be doing. This will allow millennials to become more engaged, because they can see how their work for your small business is impacting the world at large. If you’re providing meaning in the work place, you will be better at managing millennials.
Part and parcel with social media integration and small business engagement is ensuring you have established clear paths of communication within your small business. Millennials are natural communicators – technology has opened up their world in such a way where any other sort of management method wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective.
It is always essential to give feedback. Inc. claims 85% of Millennials feel more confident “when they have frequent conversations and feedback with their managers.” This is now a natural and healthy way of doing business – keeping the doors open so education and development can be a continuous process.
On-Going Employee Development
In fact, speaking of education and development, you may also wish to consider establishing an in-house development program. This is a critical part of succeeding in managing millennials. This is another form of prime communication within a small business. Not only will your millennial-age employees develop new skills and best practices, but these sorts of programs will also foster bonds between them and management/leadership.
Indeed, encourage your managers and other employees in leadership positions to become better coaches. The Washington Post cites 79% of millennials would “prefer a boss who serves as a coach or a mentor.” This will keep them engaged, learning, and motivated and will, in the end, contribute a significant amount to your small business’s bottom line.
Set Clear Performance Expectations Up-Front
Along with all this social media integration, extra-strength communication, and in-house development programs – you will also want to set clear expectations. What exactly are your employee’s roles? In what ways could they accomplish those roles in a more efficient and complimentary manner? As we stated previously, Millennials seek collaborative feedback and this would just be another source of gaining such feedback. Be on the lookout for being as clear and direct as you can – and your small business’s goods and/or services will undoubtedly improve.
Along with all these guidelines to keep in mind, when managing millennials, it will also be important to remain flexible. Remain open to new ideas and new ways of doing business. Perhaps your millennial-age employees will have some great methods for ensuring healthy social media integration and engagement with your small business’s customers. Or maybe they’ll have ideas concerning the establishment of increased optimization for workflow. All of these – and quite a few others – will allow your small business and its goods and/or services to flourish in the future and for a long time to come.
Indeed, now you are equipped with some new tools and guidelines when it comes to managing millennial-age employees. With these new tips under your belt – you’ll be a millennial managing maven in no time!