When adding a millennial to a working team or project, they are just as able as any other generation to observe a task or process in place and then place themselves inside.
When working in a small group of two-four people, everyone is constantly making micro-judgements about many aspects of the group. From the work ethic to the process/product balance, employees use many environmental and managerial signals to determine what to do and when. Since employees must balance their energy level, life outside work, and social situations, we know that they are often distracted or irrational in their approach to work.
Millennials have several unique characteristics that make managing them out of their distraction or irrational behavior easier:
- The language of the internet is chock full of things to be explained. No one is more open to learning than someone who is teaching, so getting a millennial to teach you something about the nearly infinitely new internet age makes them ripe for guidance. Education is a two way street and they are an expert.
- Since the distraction can sometimes be technology induced, but many jobs require computers and being available 24/7, this can pose a nasty conundrum. This is where establishing a culture makes all the difference. Most jobs have an existing culture of how they use technology, so rather than creating a culture, you have to change things. See post on the process of cultural/organizational change. If you change your culture to create times where your staff are free from technology and instead have to rely on each other as people, you will have a much stronger team. Which is more, your millennials are hungry for this kind of deep social interaction. The narrowness of social engagement online causes this.
- Millennials like to be liked. Use that to your advantage instead of complaining that they have inflated senses of worth. You could go touchey-feely and write your millennials personal notes. You can go parody and make a twitter “wall”. You can go statistician and prepare a report for them of the value they bring to the company. You can post positive results of recent customer surveys. You can create an annual social event designed specifically for millennials. You could pay them a pension.