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5 Tips for Managing “Generation Me”

Posted by Melissa Grey Satterfield on 9/9/13 4:00 AM
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In a recent Training Manager workshop, I was asked for tips on how to manage the younger generation, or Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1997. This was a really good question, and I was really stumped, because I teach quite a bit on how to train the Millennials and other generational types, but not how to manage them.

There are currently four generations in the workplace, with the youngest being the Millennials. In 2014, Millennials will account for nearly half of the employees in the world, and vastly outnumber Gen-Xers. Unlike the Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers, the Millennials have developed work characteristics and tendencies from doting parents, structured lives, and contact with diverse people. 

They also have starkly different attitudes and desires than employees from the past few decades. If you manage (or train!) these young workers, chances are you’ve experienced the constant texting and usage of cell phones, the sense of entitlement, and the constant need for praise. Don’t be fooled! Millennials have a “can-do” attitude about tasks at work and possess a positive, confident attitude.

Millennials are ready to take on the world! If you are a manager charged with managing and coaching these young workers, read on for tips on how to successfully manage “Generation Me!”

Stay Connected. Millennials are likely to be more successful with an ongoing support system at work, so connect with them daily by scheduling ten-minute meetings or quick email check-ins to outline expectations and answer questions. Also, provide ongoing mentoring and coaching opportunities to offer guidance and reinforce company culture and norms.

Create Goals Together. Millennials want to know how their position will benefit them, what skills they will learn, and when they will be promoted. Work with them to integrate their goals with the organization’s through formal performance management plans and career development programs. Include Millennials in developing benchmarks and targets for particular projects to make them feel a part of the goal-setting process.

Encourage Teamwork. Millennials are peer oriented. They like to support each other and to work in groups, even while having their own independent tasks to complete. Without a structured peer network to rely on, they are likely to feel isolated and disengaged from their work. Provide the necessary technology to connect remote workers to each other 24 hours a day. Train all employees on conflict resolution and project management skills to ensure productivity with a team environment. Finally, promote cross-functional teamwork and communication to complete assignments.

Provide Flexibility. Skilled at multitasking and accustomed to media on demand, Millennials can consume 31 hours of media in a 24 hour period! (i.e., They are likely to get bored when tasked with a single project and need variety to stay engaged.) Assign two or more projects at a time, taking care to give explicit guidelines and due dates, and create flexible work schedules that leverage multitasking and focus on results.

Recognize Success. Millennials are used to being, and expect to be, recognized as someone special. They have also had limited exposure to critical feedback. To stay motivated, Millennials need frequent encouragement and acknowledgment. Reward them for their work, especially when it is significant to the overall project. Offer small but frequent rewards, like movie tickets, or iTunes gift cards to recognize key milestones achieved. Don’t forget to communicate how important Millennials are to your company’s strategy and success.

The Millennials value the relationship with their boss more than previous generations – so strive to improve the effectiveness of your changing workforce by utilizing some of the above tips! And, if you currently manage “Generation Me” employees, I’d love to hear from you!


Melissa has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Nevada where she studied broadcast communications. During her college years, Melissa worked as an on-air personality for several radio and TV stations in Las Vegas. She’s always been a bit of a performer, which is probably why training is such a good fit for her. Before coming to Langevin, she was a senior training specialist and course developer for an organization based in L.A. Melissa knows the challenges trainers face, as well as the rewards that come with improving job performance. Her training mantra is summed up best by something she learned during her very first Langevin workshop, “Never do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.” When not in the classroom, Melissa loves travelling, relaxing at the beach, cooking, and hosting dinner parties.

Topics: adult learning principles, tips-for-trainers

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