Is it just me, or is there a glut of business article detailing how to work with or manage Millennials? How should you treat them differently? What are their unique needs? Why do we need special articles about how to treat our employees? Each employee is unique—one may like structure, another may prefer flex hours. It doesn’t matter if she’s 25 or 55.
Maybe we talk about Millennials so much because they’re the first to demand more from their employers. Or maybe it’s because they are the largest group entering the workforce. Whatever the reason, I say it doesn’t matter what generation your employees represent. Stop trying to segment your talent based on their age range! I say that every employee needs the following core things.
- Respect: People just want to feel valued and heard. It doesn’t matter if they are the Baby Boomer or the GenZ. Treat your employees with the same respect you expect from them…it’s a two way street and will build trust within the organization.
- Balance: I would love to see the workaholic-pride mentality come to an end. You’ll get more out of your employees if you make sure they are finding the right work/life balance. This isn’t to say that there aren’t crunch times, but if someone works 70 hours in a week to finish that big project, they deserve some R&R.
- Purpose: Millennials are (allegedly) extremely idealistic. But who among us doesn’t want to feel like they are a part of something bigger? Give your employees the context for their work, the bigger picture. Help them understand how they fit into the goals and outcomes…help them understand their purpose.
- Flexibility: Life gets in the way, and you shouldn’t make your employees feel guilty for taking time off to help family, go to the doctor, or wait 8 hours for the cable company. If the job doesn’t allow the person to work from home, then get creative with his schedule. Work doesn’t have to be 9-5 to be effective.
I dare you to tell me that these four items are not universal! I could even throw in that many people (regardless of age) love task variety, the opportunity to learn new things, and an achievable challenge.
It seems that businesses have recognized that our customers aren’t cookie-cutter. Now it’s time to see our employees in the same light. Though each generation may have overarching characteristics, we can’t paint such a broad brush and expect a cohesive and successful organization.