We are in the midst of a momentous generation swap that will ultimately
change management and leadership going forward. The Baby Boomers who
who perfected top-down leadership are starting to retire and a new way to work
is becoming more prevalent, and it’s all because of Millennials.
Millennials, who are taking over the workforce—in Canada alone, they are
largest generation in workforce—are a collaborative group, and therefore
feel they thrive more in an environment that encourages that. In a survey
of Millennials by Deloitte, the researchers found that two-thirds of
Millennials have their foot out the door of their current organization, with
plans to leave by 2020. The problem with their employer now is that they
consider their management and leadership to be outdated.
So, how can businesses retain Millennials? Through nurture, loyalty, and
tools that allow for better collaboration throughout all age groups in the
1. Establish a mission for the greater good
The “greater good” we talk about is not necessarily tied to altruistic giving.
This generation wants to make an impact and they hope to join a company
that offers that kind of experience. Millennials like places with a strong
sense of company purpose that goes beyond financial success. Make them
feel like philanthropists in their position and they will stick by you.
2. Show some loyalty
Most Millennials believe they currently work in share their values;
corporate values that are shared equal loyalty. Organizations that want to
work smarter with Millennials would do well to offer collaborative options,
like mentor-ship and development opportunities with senior members of
the staff. Millennials crave having somebody to turn to for career advice,
and who can help develop their leadership skills. Show them that through
mentor-ship, and their own loyalty, they too can take on bigger roles and
more responsibility in the organization. It’s what will keep them on-board,
instead of contracting a case of career wanderlust.
3. Look for ways to improve
Millennials are not too interested in how things were done in the past. In
fact, the top-down approach that characterizes many companies may be
one reason for the high turnover rates associated with Millennials–the
4. Have them weigh-in when problem-solving
In competitive workplaces, Millennials feel compelled to play their cards
close to their chest so as not to allow a co-worker the opportunity to steal
their idea. It’s the image that many Saturday Night Live staff members
paint about their time writing comedy sketches there. The atmosphere was
frantic with great ideas, but no one sharing them until they get to the
pitching process. This greedy mode of operation is working less and less,
with Millennials preferring that “good” ideas are just a jumping off point
for the rest of the team to add in their perspective. This goes with problem solving
as much as it does for ideas.
5. Encourage more ideas to be shared
Millennials love having multiple ways to share their ideas. It encourages
creativity in the delivery and a better forum for feedback. Introduce a
collaboration to the team to collect richer ideas, for specific projects or just
general office productivity. Now, your Millennial co-horts can jot down
their great idea, in the form of text or image, the moment they come up
with it rather than waiting until the next morning to shove their nugget of
brilliance into the morning status meeting.
6. Assign according to strength
That is, delegate tasks based on merit rather than seniority. Millennials are
very in tune with this style of divvying up parts of a project, and it
completely trumps the old-school model of having the manager take the
lead and letting the most desirable tasks go to the highest-ranking. Done
successfully, no feelings will be hurt and you will have created a team that
is greater than the sum of its parts.
7. Make things flexible
Millennials don’t want to be bound to a set work schedule every day it
tends to remind everyone of the image of the virtuous employee who is the
first one into the office and the last to leave at night. In environments
where the work is divided by ability and unnecessary competition is snuffed
out, Millennials fell much more free to work in whichever way they feel the
most productive. Online collaboration tools make it much easier to work
remotely without missing a beat, and keep their desired schedule in a way
that managers can still monitor their progress and give feedback.
It’s only a matter of time before Millennials are managing almost all of the
companies out there. To meet the change, many organizations are
literally and figuratively—tearing down walls to create a more
collaborative environment. The companies and leaders who embrace the
change are the ones that will achieve ultimate success in their respective