With the new wave of employees hitting your HR departments and business with their new ways of working, thinking and expectations, it’s time to look at some best practices in leading millennials.

So, how do we as company owners and business leaders work with, inspire and lead this growing workforce?

Employers and business leaders who have the capacity to understand their motivations, interests, and concerns will have a head start in attracting and retaining the best talent.

Millennials are the breed of internet natives, who require leadership which keeps up to speed with their requirements of ethical working conditions. They’re looking for more flexible working opportunities, companies who regularly work on community projects, have care and concern for the planet, plus a robust corporate and social responsibility strategy.

So let’s take a look below at some of the important points of leading millennials and how you can lead them effectively.

How can I lead a millennial?

When leading Millennials, concentrate on the following areas:

  • Collaboration

  • Mentorship

  • Professional development

  • Meaningful work

  • Flexible working patterns

By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce according to The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019.

Looking to lead this brand new, technologically savvy and aware generation, can cause managers to scratch their heads and wonder what they can teach them and how they can lead them. Millennials are seriously unimpressed with outdated, old fashioned companies and management styles.

So, let’s begin by looking at how collaborative working helps to keep millennials engaged.

Collaborative working

Millennials – Collaborative working & collaboration in the workplace

As the workforce grows to include a much younger demographic, managers and leaders need to change gears from the usual top-down management style of the present and look to inspire using methods of collaboration.

Anyone developing this younger collection of emerging millennials needs to look to engage and more importantly, keep them engaged. As this younger workforce grows, leading Μillennials will require a shift from a style of top-down management to collaborative inspiration.

To be a good millennial leader, you need to keep the lines of communication open constantly to allow your younger employees an opportunity for feedback with regards to any ideas or concerns they have.

Any good leader does, of course, know that learning from your employees is an important skill to develop. As you engage and lead your younger millennial team members, you may be surprised at what you learn.

Most of the younger workforce prefer to work alongside and collaborate with teams and although you may be the company owner or manager, you will be viewed rather more like a captain of the team and a key player, rather than the owner of the team.

‘By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce’

Mentorship

Let’s take a look at how important offering solid mentorship to your younger team can keep them fully engaged and retain the top talent in your organization.

Millennials require good coaching and put simply if they don’t receive that kind of management style, they will leave to find it elsewhere.

They are seeking constant guidance and feedback from leaders, so make sure you are checking their progress regularly rather than the usual yearly review. Give them a platform to express their ideas, whilst helping and guiding them. They appreciate managers and leaders who have achieved growth and success in areas that are important to them. Look frequently to see if there are tasks they’re struggling with and be able to coach and offer specific training.

Overall, millennials are looking to grow on their positions, so by giving them the opportunity to learn from great leaders, they will reward you with loyalty. Mentoring isn’t just important, it’s utterly crucial to retain your top talent.

‘Leadership is based on inspiration; not domination; on cooperation – not intimidation.’ ~ William Arthur Ward

Professional development

According to an article by Forbes magazine relating to millennials in the workplace deep loyalty is shown to employers and leaders who are interested in issues important to them.

Companies and managers who meaningfully invest in their training and professional development can expect millennials to stay with them for the long term.

The old-style ‘one size fits all’ mentality will just not cut it with this new breed of workforce. This particular demographic has been tutored online and are used to finding ‘just-in-time’ information from platforms such as Google and YouTube. They won’t be looking for dated lengthy seminars or other formal professional development programs of the past. According to a recent Gallup report, 87% of Millennials are looking for swift and effective on the job learning.

They’re looking to learn from their coworkers and peers, similarly to learning from managers and experts. They require control of where and when they are learning.

Using cloud-based learning tools (LMS) matches well with how millennials like to work and their appetite for professional development.

These types of learning methods can allow leaders and employers to go create and deliver course content For their younger team members to access at any time. This allows your team flexibility in terms of both locations and also the time in which they complete their training.

Meaningful work

Rather than previous generations, Millennials are looking to achieve work with a purpose. Simply assigning tasks with no end game or reason is not going to retain your young talent.

Leading your Millennials with purposeful outcomes is paramount and they need to know that the work they are doing makes a difference. When leading Millennials, make sure you let them know why the work they are doing has an impact on the rest of the company, and why it’s important. The task, even in some small way, has to be meaningful, or have a purpose …or they will ask what is the point.

Now we’ve looked at a number of ways in which to keep the younger members of your workforce fully engaged and lead them purposefully to retain their talent, let’s look finally at one of the new ways of working.

If you are looking to continue to inspire and gain the loyalty of your millennials, giving them trust to work more autonomously can reap huge benefits.

Flexible working patterns

According to a study by Bentley University, 77% of Millennials say that flexible work hours would make the workplace a far more productive environment.

The ‘anytime, anywhere’ mentality of this flexible workforce means that working flexibly is likely to motivate and ensure you are getting the very best out of this talented workforce.

Given the ease and comfort to which they adapt to technology, remote working or flexible shift patterns will make sure they remain engaged and not look to other companies or teams which enable this.

Looking towards the future, we can expect this kind of flexible working to be the norm, rather than a special privilege.

Allowing your millennial team the flexibility of working when they are the sharpest and rest when they need to, means you are set the gain the most in terms of productivity and loyalty.

Conclusion

In summary, millennials are the new generation of employees who require a radical shift in management and leadership approaches. In order to lead this growing force successfully, we must engage them by offering mentorship, opportunities to learn, ways to build their career prospects, collaboration and a connection to a wider purpose.