Millennials will soon take over as the leaders of the workforce, and we need to be ready for their preferences. They are used to more advanced technology than we had at their age, and their access to social media and other communication platforms during the Great Recession means they think of things like money and value in a much different way than generations before.
My agency also recently surveyed 1,000 agency employees to learn more about this generation’s mindset. I draw upon my own experiences, our research, and other sources to help agency owners understand how to manage millennials.
- Create True Transparency: To millennials, real transparency means increased context fueled by the desire to engage and connect with those around you. So next time, tell your millennial employees what could be improved or how their efforts have helped the business grow. And don’t be afraid to be honest about why a competing agency might have won that valuable client (and what the team can do collectively to get better). Get to know your millennial team members as people, not just as employees. Ask about their interests outside of work, and inquire about their weekends on Monday mornings. These little connections can add up.
- Help Them See How They Fit Into Your Agency: Millennials have a lot of options in front of them, causing a struggle to make important decisions about their future, further leading to confusion about their identity and purpose. Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter nurture this; younger generations always have someone to compare themselves too. Millennials are accused of being “job hoppers” because they always see greener grass on the other side. With all this in mind, leverage the compassionate side of leadership by helping address millennials’ insecurities and concerns. Show them how their roles and your agency’s vision align, and they may be more likely to stick around.
- Make Space For Side Projects: Many millennials are entrepreneurial in mindset. Even if they do not plan on starting their own business, they may want to feel entrepreneurial within their job environments (known as intrapreneurship). Side projects are a great way to foster that feeling, but do not be afraid to add stipulations. For example, make sure team members aren’t doing things on their own time that could compete with your agency, such as taking on certain kinds of freelance work. But don’t require them to explore ideas only within the confines of their roles. See what they come up with and how it could help improve your agency.
When there’s a massive generational shift in the workforce, there will likely be a period of discovery and experimentation for business owners and leaders. But working with millennials doesn’t have to be hard. Just consider their desires alongside your needs as an agency owner.