You've done it—you've coaxed that coveted workforce team member, the millennial, to join your business and brand. Now that you have an infusion of fresh thoughts and ideas in the workplace, what's the best way to start leveraging it into a future-ready plan? Should you start with supply chain scrutiny? Break into omni-channel distribution? Revolutionize customer service? Now that you've got the talent, the options can feel a little overwhelming.
Here's how you can start slow and steady to ensure you're set for distance.
Let Their Experiences Guide Your Pace
As Froenetic's Jennifer Hart Yim discusses in a recent article, millennials are uniquely situated to the modern workforce due to living through the digital revolution of the 1990s. They aren't impressed or swayed by the loud, disruptive technologies built to turn the heads of the older, tech-wary workforce or the younger tech-addicted one.
They are able to approach concepts like the Internet of Things from an objective standpoint, and can truthfully, and knowledgeably, advise their higher-ups on how necessary or unnecessary they are. Omni-channel distribution, in particular, has been a virtual battleground of innovation, with countless 'gurus' peddling new ways to access everything from supply chain transparency to research and development tools. The millennial portion of your team is an unmatched front line in these decisions, they can offer logic and thoughtful examination with an ease that older or younger peers may struggle to match.
Give Them Space to Collaborate
Having come into their own in the age of instant messaging and cell phones, millennials are naturals at communicating, collaborating and, by extension, team building. Provided their individual personality is a good fit, placing a millennial in a management position is an easy choice, as is turning to them for suggestions on promoting a more tightly-knit workflow. Paul Teague of Procurement Leaders even goes so far as to say that a work-life balance is less a challenge and more an instinct to these employee demographic superstars - they are more likely to view work as a part of life and thus visibly demonstrate company loyalty. This is a great precedent to encourage within the walls of your business, and it spreads very easily with the right charismatic leader giving it a push.
Ask Them What They Don't Know
According to an April 2015 study by training provider Mindflash, the number one issue that 1200 millennial respondents reported having at their job was lack of training. The second biggest problem? Balancing day-to-day work with keeping skills up to date. These two indicators point to a perfectly capable, intelligent employee who lacks the guidance needed to do his or her best, which means that some measure of intervention is called for.
Check in with your millennial staff—as well as the rest of your staff, of course—frequently, and ask them what they are struggling with in terms of their workload. An anonymous email inbox or physical suggestion box is also a time-tested and guilt-free way to let employees that are confused or frustrated with a training problem voice their needs.
Millennials are not so far removed from their parents' generation that they don't know the power of loyalty and an investment of effort in their employer's business. While they might not have grown up in the era of omni-channel distribution, they're familiar with the steps of implementing a culture-changing suite of technology solutions. In short, millennials actually need far less guidance and instruction than you may think—keep the lines of communication open, let them shine, and you'll soon be happily reaping the benefits of a millennial presence in your office.