Commentary

Your Millennial Hire Can Be A Gem

According to a recent report in the Irish Times by Olive Keogh, Millennials want a lot: a job that absorbs and challenges them, flexible working conditions, ample recognition of their contribution, and a role in which they can make their mark as individuals. Millennials are often highly competitive and like to know exactly how rewards are won.

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Millennials born roughly between 1990 and 2000 often get a bad rap for being tricky to manage. For them, the idea of having a job for life is both unthinkable and undesirable, so the old rules that kept the rest of us in line don’t apply. They look at work differently. Baby boomers and Generations X and Y grew up believing their role was to fit into the workplace. Millennials believe the workplace should fit in with them.

Hiring raw young talent you can end up with a gem, or someone who fails to meet expectations. With little or no work experience behind them, the job interview needs to be more about divining what makes the person tick, than what’s on their CV.

Bruce Tulgan, founder of management consultancy Rainmaker Thinking, and author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage the Millennials, says “Because they grew up overly supervised and constantly rewarded by their parents, (who treated them as equals), Millennials will never be content to labor obediently in a sink-or-swim environment,”

“They respect transactional authority: control of resources, rewards and working conditions,” says Tulgan. “They are less likely to trust the ‘system’ to take care of them and thus less likely to make immediate sacrifices in exchange for promises of long-term rewards. In fact, the Millennials’ career path will be a long series of short-term and transactional employment relationships.”

Tulgan suggests getting a measure of their potential by letting them loose on a project. “Maybe you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for yet,” says Tulgan, “but it’s a great opportunity to ask a young employee to ‘take a crack at it’, and really mean what you say. Whenever you offer a new task, responsibility or project to a capable young employee, spell out your expectations. That’s the only way to get them to adopt your organization’s best practices and turn them into standard operating procedures.”

Tulgan says the best way to give Millennials the freedom they crave is to provide a structure within which they have some autonomy. “As a leader, you have to create a space in which risk-taking and mistakes are truly safe in the context of the job. Millennials want to compete against themselves in a safe environment where they can try over and over again to improve their performance benchmarks.”

“The high-maintenance Millennial generation workforce calls for strong leadership, not weak,” he says. “Managers should never pretend a job is going to be more fun than it is; never suggest a task is within the discretion of a Millennial if it isn’t; never gloss over details; never let problems slide and never offer praise or rewards for performance not worthy of them. Instead, spell out the rules of the workplace in vivid detail.”

Tulgan concludes by noting that  “Millennials want more of everything, but they don’t expect it on a silver platter. They just want to know, every step of the way, exactly what do I need to do to earn it?”

For additional information from the report, please visit here.

2 comments about "Your Millennial Hire Can Be A Gem".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 4, 2017 at 7:27 a.m.

    Kalidescope eyes.

  2. Jonathan Hutter from EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems), October 4, 2017 at 8:27 a.m.

    This can be quite the challenge in a creative industry like advertising or marketing, where you're often told that your work needs revision, the copy doesn't work, or that something is not right, even if you think it's perfect. It's often quite the shock to people who think everything they do is wonderful. 

    I do see that they go back and work on it. But tomorrow, the day is over today, even though it may be due today. 

    Just some observations over time. 

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