The term millennial has grown to represent more than just an age group—it’s exploded into a stereotype meant to represent a lot of people. I’m one of them, but I’m not easily offended, I’m not that into social media, and I don’t like Starbucks.
This may be hard to believe, but it’s true.
A recent study published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology found that there are much greater attitude and behavior differences within generations than between generations. In fact, “the magnitude of generational differences is small to near-zero.”
Generations aren’t all that different, but individuals are. Once that sinks in, you can start to have a meaningful discussion on managing the current generation of employees.
In the past, broad and sweeping assumptions have been used to give general pointers about how to manage millennials. David Kurzmann, cofounder of Women’s Best, once said, “When you take a deeper look into the millennial generation, you notice that they value being appreciated and seek a good working atmosphere even more than being financially compensated.”
Is he wrong? Well, no, actually.
Just think about it: wouldn’t any employee value appreciation? Much of the advice we hear about best managerial practice for millennials are things that most people would want, given the opportunity.
Let’s take a look at a list of tips about managing millennials.
Millennial workers want:
- Work-life balance
- Leadership training
- Technology usage
Really, though, each of these things that millennials supposedly want is a great idea for any employee. What Baby Boomer doesn’t want work-life balance? What Gen Xer doesn’t want more recognition?
These so-called “millennial” tips are ideas that get at the heart of what all workers want in our ever-changing culture and society.
Still, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all policy for everybody. Each individual will have unique preferences with regards to the best managerial practices. Some may prefer a few days to work at home every week while others may crave a constant collaborative experience in the office.
It’s best to get to know what your employees value. Because when you know the individual, your leadership is more personal, meaningful, and effective. You’ll find that not only your millennial employees but everyone in your office will be better off for it.