Author of All Groan Up, Paul Angone, recently spoke at the Intel Focus 15 conference. Although the event is principally focused on IT security, he took some time to address a growing problem for many companies – how to keep millennials happy at work.
Millennials picture from Shutterstock
Angone’s definition of millennials covers anyone born between 1980 and 2000. Globally, they represent about 1.8 billion people. While the youngest members of this cohort are still at school, many are in the workforce with some getting close to ten years into their career.
For older members of the workforce, those from Generation X, born between 1960 and 1980, and the baby boomers who came before them, there can be some significant communication issues.
One reason for this is millennials tend to live through what sociologists call “average adult markers” later than their forebears. They get married later, buy a house later and have kids later. This means they commit to a specific career later.
Interestingly, one piece of research Angone put up noted that many of the complaints made by Baby Boomers of Generation X are being repeated by Generation X to Millennials.
In other words the “kids these days” complaint is something of a right of passage.
So, how can we better work with and manage millennials in our companies?
Angone says millennials are less trusting than older generations, especially of those in authority. They also feel they’re not heard or supported. So building trust is important.
More specifically, Angone advocated three key behaviours to exhibit.
- Be accessible – be visible, present and available
- Be aware – give feedback, affirm and challenge
- Be authentic – open, honest, transparent, passionate
And, like all of us, millennials want to understand the meaning of what they’re doing.
When you cut through some of their bias we have about working with millennials, it’s obvious that they want many of the same things we value from managers. I’ve never worked with anyone, of any age, that’s enjoyed working for autocratic dictators. We all value managers and leaders who are mentors that take the time to coach us, advocate for us and are our allies when things are tough.
Anthony Caruana travelled to Intel Focus 15 in Las Vegas as a guest of Intel Australia.