Today All Groan Up welcomes this insightful guest post on leading Millennials from Lukas Pesa. Enjoy!
For all the millennials out there, have you ever noticed that there is sometimes a divide in companies between mid-to-entry-level workers (us) and big-wig managers at the top of the food chain?
What’s the reason for it?
In order to create a productive work environment, division isn’t exactly the most conducive thing for millennial engagement.
In the book Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America, by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais and they take my thought a step farther — high trust and a lack of division in the workplace leads to prosperity.
It only makes sense that when managers have an attitude of superiority that creates division, it lowers the productivity of the overall organization, right?
Quick story of how a more open environment can be beneficial in an organization (particularly for millennials). A videographer was hired to work on a political campaign in 2008 for a charismatic figure named Barack Obama (maybe you’ve heard of him) and was given the job of taking hours of video and using it to tell the story of the campaign. There were a few things that made the work environment unique right off the bat:
- The office was in the shape of an ‘O’, preventing any hierarchy of having corner offices.
- If there were any cubicle walls, they were very low, and completely transparent glass walls encased all meeting rooms. The theme of transparency and equality was literally built into the office.
- The videographer was welcomed by the media team, all of whom were millennials without any sense of ego or rank.
- With the equal environment created by the Obama campaign, the eventual President Obama gave his campaign staff all the credit for his victory: “You lifted me up and pulled me across the finish line…You created the best political organization in America. (The presidency) is a great gift you gave to me.”
Now, obviously I’m not preaching for every company out there to burn their cubicles and curve their walls.
But, with that true story in mind, and with the benefits of creating a unified environment where everyone can interact without being intimidated by any of the higher-ranking managers, I think it makes sense that transparency and teamwork are great ingredients to increase productivity, especially with millennials.
Here are some stats I found on the subject.
- 39% of surveyed employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate
- About 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important”, yet only 18% of employees get communication evaluations at their performance reviews.
- 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Being distant and unfamiliar with millennials will make them tense, and by extension, uncomfortable in the workplace.
- 90% of employees who responded in a survey believe that decision-makers should seek other opinions before making a final decision, yet 40% of employees believe that decision makers “consistently failed” to seek another opinion.
So how can executives, manager, and leaders make the best possible environment for their youngest employees?
Be. Social. With. Them.
Make millennials feel comfortable enough with you that they can talk to you about things that may not pertain to work.
Let them feel like they can approach you, even if they have to ask you questions about how they can improve in their work.
I know too many millennials who have had a slower-than-necessary improvement rate because they were too intimidated by their manager’s imposing personality to ask questions.
For managers that work with millennials, how many of these questions can you answer regarding your millennial employees?
- Where did your millennial employees go to school?
- How many siblings do they have?
- Do they have any big family events coming up?
- Do they play sports? If so, which ones?
- What do they do in their free time?
Now it is not necessary to know all these details about millennial employees. I mean after all, they are your employees not your friends from high school. But in my experience, the managers who are able to talk to their youngest employees about all things have a tendency to get better results from them.
Get to know millennials on a personal level and they will begin to interact and perform as colleagues not subordinates.
Lead them to do great work because they want to, not because they’re paid to.
Lukas Pesa is a recently graduated branding coordinator from Toronto whose background in public relations has kept him interested in the media and social trends. Lukas is interested specifically in the trends being set by millennials in business and how businesses can better leverage their millennial talent to work more effectively and efficiently.