But who exactly are they in the workplace?
They are basically the type of workers who constantly question the traditional work setting created by older generations. They live in a time wherein most things can be accomplished without much face-to-face interaction. Most of the questions that they have in mind could simply be answered by Google. Everything is literally just a few clicks away from them - getting a car or cab, reloading a train ticket, ordering food and drinks, buying clothes or even getting a map. They are used to the fast-paced and independent life.
Some of them are opting to be freelancers. Having that freedom away from the typical work setting, managing their own time and doing their own thing means much more to them than being in someone else's payroll and having to abide by some sort of rules. They are getting a bad reputation these days because of this mentality. They are being called narcissists, spoiled and entitled brats just because they can get things in a few weeks' or months' time what took other generations years of blood, sweat and tears to get.
It's pretty easy to hate them and it would be a great challenge to work with them. However, you have to deal with them unless you are totally fine having high school students, middle-aged or senior citizens working for your company.
Millennials make up most of the working force these days. You might be working with quite a lot of them now and it constantly reminds you of how different their skills and work ethics are compared to the people who are not from their age group. They do have good and bad points, but, if you are willing to keep a good number of them in your work place or your own company, maybe these pointers would help.
1) Make them feel like they are paid what they are worth
I'm pretty sure you have heard the proverb "you get what you pay for". This couldn't be more true. Unless they are heirs or heiress of a royal family, I don't think anyone would gladly settle for a low-paying job while they are giving their productive years at work. It is true that they have to start at a certain level especially if they just got out of college. Salary negotiation might not be an option for the fresh grads, however, if they have been working for quite some time and they have built a credible amount of experience on top of their natural talents, why won't you give them the salary that they deserve? Nothing crushes their motivation and confidence more than feeling worthless at a job that they think they do best. They have bills to pay - they need food and shelter. On top of that, there are other things that they are reaching for aside from the basic human needs. Therefore, they need a job that would provide their basic needs and a little bit of luxury so they can spend more on the things that make them happy. Happy people don't usually quit from their jobs!
2) Give them a chance to grow
Unless it's lion-taming or dragon-training, I think most people, not just Millennials, would definitely get bored doing the same thing over and over - no matter how exciting you think a job is. Humans crave for wisdom - their brains go hungry too. If brains are not regularly fed, they would shrink! Millennials love to learn new things. They learn fast, so, once they have mastered one area in their job, they would automatically crave for more. The moment they feel stuck or stagnant, their initial reaction is to GO! They would go somewhere they could grow. That won't happen if you would give them enough opportunities to walk a little further at least once in a while in order to broaden their horizons.
3) Let them breathe
Just because they don't want to stop learning doesn't mean they don't want to stop moving as well. Sense the difference between stress and challenge. Smart people enjoy challenges - things that would keep their brains working to its optimum level. Stress, on the other hand is something they would run away from. Too much stress is bad for their mental and physical health. Since Millennials are not just looking for a job but a way of life - they would opt for a place in this world where they can take breathers in between work. It does not mean you have to tolerate 2-3 hour lunches every day. Just the right amount of breaks in between work would be enough.
4) Give them accurate information about the job description
When you're out shopping and you already have a very clear picture in your mind of a certain thing that you want or need to buy, and then all of a sudden you see the exact same thing at a mall or whatever store it is that you passed by - would you buy it regardless of the price? If you really want or need it, you might. But if it's just a bit similar to what you have in mind, then you might want to 'keep looking around' for a few more minutes or if you don't want it that bad, you might just compare prices for now and then settle for cheapest one later on. What if you purchased that exact same thing that you had in your mind, thinking that it would give you eternal bliss and that once you get it, everything in your life would just be perfect. A salesperson would walk up to you and tell you all the good things that you just need to hear about that 'thing'. They'd tell you how incredible it is and that you won't regret buying it, ever!
But then, after a few days, weeks or even months of using it, it blows up in your face. You'd be asking yourself a hundred reasons why it happened. You trusted the salesperson's words, you settled for the high price, only to find out that it won't last. Bummer! But that's how most Millennials feel after hanging on to every word from the employers only to find out that they are not going to get what they have expected. People who are really interested with the job might settle for a low salary if taking it means doing something that would make them jump out of bed every single morning for the rest of their lives, or again, if they are an heir or heiress to a throne.
5) Let them maximize and hone their skills
People have different ways of expressing themselves. Some people would express their stress and anxiety by whining, rambling, gossiping and talking behind someone's back, however, there are people who would express the same emotions through different forms of arts. These are the people that you need because they know that stress and anxiety is somehow part of the job. You can't expect everything to be perfect, but you can choose how you react to these negative situations. They know how to react better - they release their frustrations in a healthy way. It is necessary to let all the negative emotions out so that they would be able to get over it and heal eventually. Being productive and creative in the midst of chaotic events is something that you should be proud of. They are not being paid for the stressful moments that they go through while they are doing their job. The least you can do is let them grow - let them hone their skills or whatever talents they have and more often than not, they would come back to their desks or work stations with a clearer perspective. They need your support, not criticism. Even an invisible high-five for their business skills, organizational skills or artworks would be great!
6) Never burn them out!
The moment you burn them out, that's the end of it! You can use different ways to win them back but there's a good chance that they won't fall for your words and broken promises anymore. Millennials, no matter how young and energetic they look, are not made of iron and steel. They do have limits; they are not robots. You can't give them a crazy amount of workload and expect them to smile from their heart the very next day. Always put in mind that they are humans and there's only so much they can do. If you don't want them to reach their limits, give them a daily dose of motivation and enough time to rest or recover. Be smart enough to know the difference between the employees who are calling in sick and the ones who are REALLY sick. Give them the break that they need.