Since this week’s theme on the Accolo blog is “Team Building”, I thought that one of the best things to cover would be Millennials and how team building with them is different than with any other age group. Though you might not have many or any millennial employees, chances are that you will before too long. By 2025 Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce, filling in the gaps in the labor market left by retiring Baby Boomers. Whether you like it or not, Generation Y is here and they are here to stay. As you may have heard, this generation has a notoriously short retention rate, averaging out at just about 2 years. This trend, however, is not the rule. By fostering a company culture that emphasizes mentorship and feedback for your millennial employees, you can create a place for them to hone their emerging professional skills. Though team building with your millennial employees is a bit different from the management side, the underlying principal is the same: the effectiveness of your team building will be based on how well you understand your team.
One of the best ways to build camaraderie between your millennial employees is to emphasize mentoring within your company. Whenever possible, you should encourage your more senior millennial employees to work with new millennial hires. For the most part, people from this age group have spent more time on school than they have on anything else in their lives. They’re used to learning and want to continue doing so. By emphasizing peer mentoring, you’re giving 2 of your employees the opportunity to bond with and learn from each other, sowing the seeds for a strong team connection later down the line.
Your management style for Millennials should also emphasize giving feedback whenever possible. This generation is the generation that expects success from hard work, instant feedback, and unimpeded upward progress toward their goals. As you know, what you want isn’t usually what you end up getting, especially if your version of “hard work” isn’t quite as hard as you think it is. When entering the working world, many Millennials become discouraged by the rigors of the day to day and incredulous that they can’t skip entry level work for the more interesting stuff. Giving feedback to a Gen Y employee for a job well done makes them feel that their work matters, that their day’s or week’s labors have been spent on advancing in some way. The most important thing is that you provide this feedback (whether good or constructive) when the work is turned in, not at some semi-annual performance review. They’ll probably think to themselves “If I was doing something wrong, why didn’t anyone tell me? What a waste of time.” And they’d be right.
Though creating the optimal work environment for Millennials will require you to be a little more hands on, the stories that you’ve been hearing about the “Me, Me, Me Generation” are just that: stories. When encouraged to work with their peers and when given feedback on their professional progress, your millennial employees will put in the hours just as faithfully as the generations of workers who came before them.