Monday, March 17, 2014

SxSW Millennials as Supervisors: Strategies for Success


Speaker: Jennifer Selke +Jenn Selke @jennselke
Jennifer Selke is a supporter and trainer for the millennial workforce and helping this generation with finding jobs.

It is interesting to hear from the work force on how the graduated Millennial and GenY students are doing out in the real world. We've heard the horror stories of how some of these kids were raised by helicopter parenting and how these parents continue to fill out applications for their kids and even attend interviews with them.

Even with these drawbacks, these "kids" are in the workforce now and based on the number of attendees in this session at SxSW, there is a need to figure out how to use them effectively in the workplace.

The stereotype of the Millennial is that they are entitled, narcissistic, needy, and lazy job hoppers. Research predicted that 25% of this generation should expect to have six or more employers in their career. By 2020, 46% of the workforce will be Millennials.

Generational Workplace Characteristics
Baby Boomer Mindeset: "Work hard for that gold watch and pension." Keep it simple. Work hard for the payoff in the end. Boomers have an idea of when work started and stopped. Investing in a company meant moving up.

GenX was the lost generation, the slackers, the under socialized, cynical. They redefined the time between work and reward. They looked for ways to standout. They initiated the concept of good ideas = opportunity. The people with the profitable ideas moved up and got the better jobs.

Millennials are learner-centric. They want to learn and to grow. They believe ideas can come from anyone. They require feedback constantly and want to grow. They also love working in teams.

Millennials will join a company but they will quit a manager. The idea here is to manage Millennials to leave. Coach them with the expectation to grow. Expect it and it engages their work. Talk to them about their next steps. When a Millennial learns the company "why", it makes them want to stay. 

Successful Strategies for Working with Millennials:

1. Age Diversity - Multigenerational Leadership
Diversity in generations within teams is valuable as each generation brings different strengths to the mix.

2. Growth & Development - Lifeskills training
Millennials are learner-centric; education oriented; and desire feedback because they want to grow. They will join a company but they will quit a manager. The idea here is to manage Millennials to leave. Coach them with the expectation to grow. Expect it and it engages their work. Talk to them about their next steps. When a Millennial learns the company "why", it makes them want to stay. Companies should invest more in professional development and growth with Millennials.

Millennials desire REAL feedback. They received a lot of empty feedback in growing up ("You are great and unique!").

3. Engagement: Engaged workers unleash the potential for growth
As a Millennial Manager, you must create an engaged environment. Give your employees resources to succeed. Use a strength-based management approach. Know what your employees are great at.

Suggests posting the question to the group: "What makes a great day at work for you?" which is similar to building the classroom rules in schools by letting the group dictate the rules for the room.

4. Strenghts-Based Management - Play to your team's strengths.
Become more productive as a team by building around individual's strengths. Employees working in the "strengths zone" look forward to going to work, have positive work relationships.

Question: What 20% of your job would you give up?

*You know you have a problem in your company if your workers aren't referring their friends. Investing in a Millennial's development can lead to them referring others and speaking highly of you when they leave.

5.  Finding a coach at work: Professional Development; moving-up mindset
Millennials need to have a coach, a mentor, etc. at work to keep them engaged. Millennials want to communicate with their bosses several times a day. Keep communication open! Also, they want to meet several times a person.

Understanding Millennials in the Workplace:

If a Millennial isn't having their needs met in the workplace, they will leave.

ASK them what their goals are. That will change HOW you manage them.

Don't be afraid to talk to millennials about their expectations, strengths, and where they want to move. Have a dialogue.

Speaker suggests adding a way for 360-degree feedback for staff and peers to get information on performances. Millennials have already received a lot of "empty" feedback (you are wonderful and unique!) so they desire REAL feedback.

Day 1: Millennials want to make and impact and get involved. Make sure their desk is ready.

Millennials are comfortable challenging norms and equality vs. hierarchy.

Millennials need communication training; when to use the phone vs. text vs. email. There is a lot lost in text message and e-mail. Know when you HAVE to call or meet in person.

The speaker shared the tweet below from a millennial employee on being late for work in the morning. Notice the 7:30am timestamp, this employee owned up to the issue.

Beyond the corporate workspace, what will our Millennial generation teacher or principal be like? Is the public education system ready to provide authentic feedback, use strength-based management, create engaged environments for success, develop a 360-degree feedback loop on performance, and be comfortable with challenging norms and equality vs. hierarchy with this new generation of teachers/leaders?

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