Seven Tips for Working with Millennials

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on August 24, 2015

A recent article in The New York Times, “Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers,” makes it clear that businesses are trying to figure out this generation which just passed baby boomers as the largest group in the American workforce.
As manufacturers, we are very interested in this group -- not necessarily to market products to them but to recruit them. Match up even a fraction of the approximate 75 million millennials with manufacturers needing to fill open positions and the skills gap is solved.
Critical factors in building loyal, high-performing millennial workers are understanding them, tapping into their strengths and helping them with career advancement.
Here we offer Seven Tips for Working with Millennials, abridged from our new white paper entitled, “Embracing Millennials: Closing the Manufacturing Skills Gap and Gaining a Competitive Advantage.” For the full list of tips, insights and best practices, download a complimentary copy for you and your team.
1. Don’t generalize.
Like all generations, this broad swathe of workers is made up of individuals with different life experiences that color their approach to work and careers.
2. Communicate your corporate mission.
Millennials expect companies to demonstrate a strong sense of purpose and want to be part of that. Be sure to communicate your mission and show how each individual job ties to it.
3. Show them their future.
Provide room for growth within your company so millennials do not feel they need to grow somewhere else. Ensure there are clear milestones along the way with rewards in the not-too-distant future. Provide recognition with each success.
4. Provide continual learning opportunities.
Millennials have a strong desire to learn and acknowledge they have things to learn. A formal continuing education program can help.
5. Go digital.
This generation grew up with technology. Move away from paper. Much hiring and training can now be done digitally through tablets and smartphones.
Allow millennials to share their technical talents with older workers, which can create new peer connections.
6. Allow them to share their ideas.
Millennials’ fresh perspectives can complement that of more senior employees. Brainstorming sessions allow millennials to contribute ideas and help them see the big picture so they know where they, and the organization, are headed.
7. Provide regular and immediate feedback.
Millennials grew up with constant feedback from their parents, teachers and coaches. They expect it from you, their leader. Just five minutes of clear, direct feedback, on a regular basis, will keep them motivated and engaged.
Based on these tips, companies that take a fresh look at their training and development approaches can ultimately elevate the performance of everyone in an organization – not just millennials – leading to loyal employees and stronger business results.
--Jeannine Kunz, Director, Tooling U-SME