Three Things Millennials Want Their Managers To Know

lego“He just doesn’t get it.”

This was the phrase I heard over and over again during a recent mentoring discussion with a young professional. She was referring to her manager. And based on the information she was sharing, I agreed with her. This discussion got me thinking – what are the things millennials wish they could tell their managers?

A while back, I wrote a blog called Listen Up Employers, This is What Millennials Want From You. I polled some  professionals that I respect and admire and asked them to share their thoughts on the workplace, their needs and wants from their employers, especially since so many companies are investing heavily in initiatives to attract and retain them. I learned that they were tired of stereotypes, they want to have an impact and a voice in the workplace, they want balance just like the rest of us, and they need our support to be successful.

Recently, I checked back with the group to see how things have progressed (or not) and to understand what is top of mind for them right now and what they’d share with their managers:

1. We expect (and deserve) equal treatment. “A lot of times people treat young professionals as inferior because we don’t have as much experience as older colleagues.  This can be very demotivating.”

  • Lesson for managers: Come on everyone…with only 13% of employees worldwide engaged at work, finding meaning and purpose in work has never been more critical. Millennials are looking for work that has an impact on the bottom line and on the world. Treat them as equal contributors – they have a unique view on the world and a valuable perspective to consider.

2. We will achieve more if we work together. Most millennials seek collaboration and harmony in their work.  “Sometimes there is a fear of losing territory by combining efforts. Turf wars get us nowhere, collaboration and combining forces give us the power to scale success.”

  • Lesson for managers: Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing. Make sure every key project has diverse representation and input so millennial voices are heard and considered.

3. You need to embrace change. In my original article I reported that millennials want a work environment that supports their needs for collaboration and flexibility. This is still the case. “I understand that collaborative tools and platforms are new to previous generations, but at some point everyone has to bite the bullet and adapt.  For example, look for the answer in our collaboration tool before sending an email.”

  • Lesson for managers: Let’s respect millennials’ needs for work-life balance and flexibility. Also, let’s get with the program when it comes to collaboration tools and make sure everyone is using tools to make our businesses run more efficiently.

What do you think? What advice would you give your manager?

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Photo credit – Flickr Creative Commons

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3 Comments

  • 1
    Brenda Jackson
    June 11, 2015 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    This is good advice for any employee, not just the millenials. I’m from a couple of generations earlier than them, but these are exactly the needs and desires I have for a funcional workplace. I very much enjoy working with my younger colleagues, and I appreciate their fresh and enthusiastic ideas. I do have one complaint, in that regard though. I have had very negative experiences with some younger colleagues who believe that all “old” people are idiots, Luddites, and should just move aside and let them take over. That kind of attitude isn’t supportive of a collaborative working environment, and it’s important to remember that respect goes both ways. It’s a trait you must demonstrate to receive.

  • 2
    Lou Roberts
    October 19, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Spot on. What hit home the most here is the ‘tired of stereotypes’ aspect. Millennials are constantly told they’re switching jobs too much, or they ‘need’ or ‘want’ constant feedback, or they desire a career path that challenges them them to continue to grow within their organization…or, they’ll leave. These are all accurate stereotypes but are they so bad? What used to look very bad on a resume jumping from one company to another seems to have lost its negative impact. So often companies are awarding new employees with higher salaries because of their diverse (while short) experience.

    From what I’ve heard working with HR Executives, the bigger change is with the companies approach to the ‘corporate ladder’ and growth opportunities. There are no more pensions or over insured benefits plans…the value of staying with a company purely because of the long-term benefits have significantly decreased. So we label the above stereotypes as “oh, he/she is just in that millennial generation”…but these organizational changes have created a new way to look at your career, a new way to strive for additional feedback and challenges, and a new way open up opportunities to move from one company to another…you could argue that it’s really the workplace that has changed, not the ‘worker’.

    • 3
      October 19, 2016 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      Thanks for reading, Lou, and for the comment. Great point on the long-term incentives and the changing workplace.

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