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3 ways managers can connect with millennials in the workplace 

by ​Sarah Schmid
 I was chatting with a tech industry head hunter recently, and she said a major shift has occurred in the workplace.

Millennials, with their insistence on a good culture fit and a willingness to leave jobs they’re dissatisfied with, are turning the recruitment process on its head. Employees are now starting to drive the hiring process, sending those dark, post-Great Recession days — “You should feel lucky you even have a job,” or so went the mantra — to the dustbin of history.

Millennials, defined as those born between 1980-2000, are joining the workplace in ever-increasing numbers. (In fact, millennials in the workplace now reportedly outnumber baby boomers for the first time in history.) As the demand for top young talent increases, managers need to understand that the old way of doing things is over. How can you transcend this generation gap to better transfer information within the workplace, and best use the strengths of your young hires so that everyone wins?

They were born for remote collaboration

Millennials in the workplace love working as a team, have a sophisticated grasp of modern communication technology, and are huge fans of the flexible work schedule. That makes them perfect candidates to work from home on projects that allow for — or require — online collaboration. They also have a healthy sense of adventure and embrace change, meaning that they’re willing to try new things to find a better way of doing things. Whether that’s travel or telepresence, remote work or redoing the office, millennials are ready to give it a try and see what sticks. 

​If you hire the right people, you have a real opportunity to seek their input on updating your digital processes and procedures.


Speaking of technology…

If you hire the right people, you have a real opportunity to seek their input on updating your digital processes and procedures. Solicit their advice and ask them about their favorite apps, devices and other pieces of technology. It may give you some fresh ideas on how to modernize many aspects of the company. With the consumerization of IT in full swing, the apps that they’re using to communicate and collaborate in their personal lives are finding a home within the enterprise. Engage these tech-savvy colleagues to get a jump start on these workplace trends, as the way they want (and expect) their technology to work should inform the way that you design apps and processes.

Open the lines of communication

Millennials in the workplace are a confident bunch, thanks to a lifetime of positive reinforcement. They like to collaborate and they’re hungry for feedback, which they expect to get regularly. But that doesn’t mean they like things loosey-goosey. Give them encouragement, clear-cut goals and objectives to meet. That will spark their can-do attitude. Don’t seek to constrict them or act dismissive toward their ideas, even when they’re, frankly, a bit absurd. Once the typical millennial feels like they’re not being valued or listened to, they’re gone.

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Sarah Schmid
Sarah Schmid is a writer with more than 15 years of experience in the workforce, with stops including a newspaper newsroom, a political campaign office, and in a government public relations shop, where she became intimately familiar with the key issues that are affecting today’s worker. During her travels, she’s seen it all – horrible bosses, co-workers that have become life-long friends, backstabbing rivals and great mentorship. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Montana and is a resident of Detroit, which she proudly calls “the most fascinating city I’ve ever lived in.”