Millenials working in an office setting

Making Millennials Work for You

by Randy Ardis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, on July 03, 2019
If you’re like most employers, you’ve probably already given a lot of thought to accommodating your millennial workers through things like flex time, work-life balance, and recognition. But what should you expect from them? After all, employment is a two-way commitment. In addition to meeting the needs of your employees, you have to make sure they’re meeting the needs of your business. The good news: surveys have found that millennial workers want to be helpful, and they crave clear direction -- it’s one reason they seek more frequent feedback. So give it to them. Here are three tips for setting clear and realistic expectations for your millennial employees:
1. Expectation: Lines of authority
It’s been said that millennials don’t want bosses, they want coaches. This generation of workers craves feedback, and looks to managers not just to tell them what to do, but also to mentor them and help them reach their professional goals. There are good reasons to support this desire -- having a positive relationship with a manager is a key factor in employee engagement and retention. Many organizations are replacing the annual performance review with regular check-ins throughout the year in order to facilitate a more collaborative relationship between managers and employees.
But it’s also reasonable to set clear boundaries and remind workers that, while their manager may listen to their concerns and work closely with them, they’re also in a position of authority. Make it clear that part of the employee’s job is hearing and receiving feedback on their performance, and ultimately accepting the boss' decision on work matters.
As employees, millennials are bringing a lot to the table -- from their technological fluency as digital natives, to their sense of purpose and earnest desire to give back to their workplace and larger community. By setting clear expectations and communicating them well, you can harness their energy and help them succeed.
2. Expectation: Advancement on your schedule
Millennials are known for placing a high value on career advancement, and these employees may grow impatient as they wait in line for promotion. You can appeal to their desire to move up by talking about the opportunities for growth at your company, and offering professional development and training to keep them engaged as they move up the ranks. It’s also important to honor your established policy for advancement and make sure promotions make sense for your organization.
Set the expectation by being up-front with employees about your criteria for promotion and the usual timeframe for moving up. Communication about advancement is a two-way street. Ask employees about their long-term career goals, and let them know you’ll work with them, while expecting them to practice patience and be part of the team.
3. Expectation: Flextime that works for you
Much has been said about millennials’ desire for flextime and the freedom to work remotely. In fact, many workers say they prefer to work from home not because they want to avoid work, but so they can avoid distractions and be more productive. Consistent work-at-home by non-self-employed workers has increased 140% since 2005 – 10 times faster growth than the rest of the workforce – and Brian Rashid at predicts that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be doing freelance work from home. Having entered the workforce during the rise of telecommuting, millennials often have the expectation that flextime, work-from-home, or other remote options are available at every company.
If flexible hours and remote work are possible for your business, set a formal flextime policy that clearly states when employees may work outside the office, and when you need them on-site. Focus on results and meeting deadlines, so employees know what they need to accomplish and how their work is measured.
At the same time, remember that flexibility cuts both ways. While millennial employees may be less inclined to work traditional office hours, they’re also more likely to be checking work emails at night or responding to requests while on vacation. To prevent burnout, make sure your policy also communicates expectations -- and boundaries -- for after-hours communication.
Do you need help setting flextime policies or structuring employee goals?  Contact us today to learn how LandrumHR can help.
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, Informed HR. As things change, we keep you informed.
Randy Ardis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Randy is a seasoned HR Professional with 23 years of exempt-level experience in the fields of manufacturing, telecommunications, entertainment, and service industries. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in HR Management from Winthrop University. A certified Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) and Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Randy is highly experienced in Employee Relations, Staffing & Recruiting, and Training. Randy has been a Florida resident for eight years, and has spent most of his career in the Southeastern United States. He is active in the Greater Pensacola Society for Human Resources Management chapter, the Pensacola Chamber’s HR Managers Roundtable – has served as Co-Chair, Northwest Florida Manufacturer’s Council member, Central Gulf Coast Industrial Alliance’s Workforce Development Team, and a member of the Northwest Florida Skilled Technician Talent Supply Task Force.

View more blogs by Randy Ardis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP