Managing Millennials in the Workplace


Millennials represent an ever-larger share of the active workforce and they’re actively shaping the present and future of the 21st Century workplace.

So much has been said about this generation already, a lot of it negative. Sometimes it’s hard to cut through the stereotypes and get to the bottom of what actually separates this generation from the previous one. Certainly, Millennials’ familiarity and ease with technology sets them apart from their predecessors, as well as their global outlook and experience of global economic uncertainty at a key time in their personal and professional development. Millennials are less comfortable with rigid corporate structures and value flexibility, openness and variety in their careers.

Here are some key ways to manage Millennials in your own workplace.


Invest in Technology

This is a generation that grew up with technology, what’s often referred to as ‘digital natives’. Millennials are more often more comfortable communicating by email than face-to-face and like to keep up with what’s happening the tech space. Allowing access to new technologies, as long as they’re relevant to your business of course, is one way of incentivising and engaging Millennial employees.


Allow for Flexibility and Balance

This generation values work-life balance and recognises that your career is just one aspect of a fully-rounded, fulfilling life.

If you don’t already have options around flexible hours, or earning work-from-home days, then implementing this could be a valuable step. What works for one business might not work for you, so it’s important to do something that practical to your business.

Work-life balance matters. Encourage employees to get involved in team building activities, volunteer work and show a genuine interest in their hobbies and past-times outside of work.


Foster a Collaborative Culture

Millennials like working in a creative, inclusive professional environment. Of course there are always going to be rules and regulations but this can be managed by explicitly encouraging idea-sharing and open collaboration.

Create a culture where individuals’ ideas and perspectives are valued, that recognises that people have unique backgrounds that give them insights they can bring to the table.


Invest in mentorship and training

For this new generation now dominating the workforce, a job is less of a goal in and of itself, as it is a stepping stone to the next one.

This is a generation shaped by a rapidly changing technological landscape, where smartphones have interwoven themselves into daily life, social media dominates and email is ever-present even outside of working hours. But even more important than technology is the economic landscape – despite the recovery in recent years, instability and poor job prospects are in recent memory. Concepts like company loyalty are perceived as old-fashioned – there’s a strong perception that loyalty might not pay off with the expected career progression down the line.

This can be mitigated by investing in the development of Millennial employees, clearly outlining progression paths and the milestones needed to achieve that all-important promotion or new title.


Don’t make too many generalisations

In this article alone we’ve made several sweeping observations and statements about that segment of the population that happened to be born between the mid-to-late 1980s and the early 2000s. While there’s a lot of solid research, data and testimony that suggests this generation, when taken as a whole, has different professional goals and priorities than the previous generation, it’s important to recognise that not everyone within that particular age bracket automatically shares that. Each individual is unique, with their own skills, desires and value that they bring to the table.


For a discussion about your career, please contact Paul McClatchie, Director, Engage People on [email protected]