5 Proven Ways to Work with Millennials (Whether You Are One or Not)

In 2015 millennials became the largest generation in the workforce and they now represent over 55 million workers in America. But do you know what the most common jobs are for millennials?

  • Statisticians
  • Analysts
  • Advertising Managers
  • Promotions Managers
  • Web Developers & Designers
  • Market Research Analysts
  • Marketing Specialists

Add to the list bartender, physician’s assistant, and jobs within the emergency medical field and you’ve just rounded out the top ten most common and popular jobs for millennials.

Notice anything there?

Yes, a lot of the above jobs deal heavily with technology, marketing, and digital services – which are all very closely related to the services I provide through the company I manage, JSL Marketing & Web Design.

Therefore, it might be redundant to acknowledge, but yes – most of my team members are millennials. And though millennials get a bad rep by most online articles, I’ve found that working with them isn’t nearly as doom and gloom as old-school businesses or companies make it out to be, though they are different than the generations before them (as will the next generation, Gen Z).

So, in case you are struggling to connect, communicate, motivate, or simply work with your millennial employees, review the 5 tips below, and see how your work environment, productivity, and influence can change the game when working with millennials (especially in technology and advancement fields).

#1. Appreciation & Environment Over All Else

One of the biggest differences between millennials and their older counterparts is their motivation and goals. For the first time in many generations, their main goal actually isn’t about financial compensation.

Millennials have often been polled, and the results state that (within reason) they would rather enjoy their job, enjoy the environment, and be appreciated, than get regular raises, climb the corporate ladder, or constantly seek to be making more money.

Sound strange? It shouldn’t. This generation would rather enjoy what they do and make less for it, than hate their job but be paid more.

This is where the ‘millennials are lazy’ stereotype originally came from. And though this doesn’t make them lazy, it does make their motivation be held elsewhere, which confused older generations for many years.

TL:DR? Millennials care about happiness over salary, and this is the biggest area managers need to understand if they want to keep their millennial workers.

#2. Understand That Tech Isn’t Just Their Toy

A common stereotype is that millennials are in love with their technology, and though trends show that they are (with the rest of the world fast on their heels) they do not simply love their tech because it is entertainment.

As you saw from the list above, technology is the livelihood of many millennials as well, or, at the very least, plays a large role in their professional life as well as their personal life.

And even beyond work or entertainment, millennials have grown up with all the knowledge in the world at their fingertips – which means that tech to them is knowledge as well.

As an example: one of my team members recently went on a vacation where she fully ‘unplugged’ (no internet, no Wi-Fi, no phone service) …

Though she enjoyed the experience and was refreshed when she returned to work, her biggest complaint about her smartphone not being so smart wasn’t that she had missed out on Facebook or Snapchat, but that she couldn’t look anything up, or search for information online.

So, when your millennials are engrossed in technology, do not always think of it as them playing, being antisocial or lazy, but understand that it can be work, play, and education all rolled into one high-priced, hand-held device.

#3. Focus on Results

This might seem counterintuitive to some, as there is another stereotype that millennials expect praise even without earning it (or the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ trope) but in reality, millennials understand that business is based on success and success is based on results.

Focus on results at your job, and make expectations known. At JSL Marketing & Web Design, we offer rewards based on results, as well as praise.

This allows your team to know what is expected of them and also acknowledges and appreciates when those results are positively met – which furthers the connection between meeting results and enjoying the benefits of that goal being met.

#4. Give Feedback on Tasks, Improvements, & Failures

Giving feedback so that your employees or team can improve is a vital part of any company or tech startup, but how you approach it is important.

Regular performance reviews where you can respectfully talk about what the individual is doing well, where they need to improve, and how certain tasks went is important in order to keep everyone accountable and on the same page.

JSL Marketing & Web Design does performance reviews twice a year, and we often follow a template where we talk about the good, the bad, and end with the good again. It’s sort of a ‘review sandwich’ but it helps the team member feel appreciated without having to gloss over any mistakes or areas for improvement.

After all, everyone can improve, and it’s important that your team knows that feedback that isn’t 100% positive doesn’t mean it’s 100% negative either.

#5. Be One of the Good Ones

The final tip I have is for both millennial workers and customers, as it is a huge area of importance in all millennials’ lives – be a good company.

This means you are ethical, transparent, honest, fair, and positive, all the things that JSL Marketing & Web Design strive to be, and all things that every company should strive to be.

From being good to your customers to being good to your employees and even within the industry, it is important to be one of the good ones, no matter what that looks like.

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