It’s not always easy for moving and storage facilities leaders to know how to manage millennials. Today’s youngest workers distrust bureaucracy. They distrust hierarchy. And if they see you as an extension of those ideas, they probably distrust you, too.
That said, millennials are entering the workforce en masse – they currently represent a third of the workforce, and will account for half or more by 2020. If you ignore them, all you’re likely to gain is frustration (yours) and sub-par performance (theirs).
That would be a shame, because millennials bring a lot of strengths to the workplace. They’re collaborative, curious, inclusive and creative. More, when they believe in what they’re doing, they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Here are five ways to gain the trust of your millennial workforce and inspire them to bring their best.
1. Communicate a cause. Are you making the world a better place? Are you serving people by meeting genuine needs? Explain what your services mean to people on a personal level, and how individual workers contribute to the big picture. Over 50 percent of millennials “say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values,” and 90 percent “want to use their skills for good.” Add to that periodic volunteer initiatives to help your community, and you’ve got something to talk about.
2. Partner with them. Provide encouragement, coaching, skills acquisition and a path forward. Get in the habit of saying thanks. Establish an open-door policy where they can ask questions and bring input. Offer a mentorship program to those who opt in, where you can provide positive feedback and constructive criticism. Give them training options that could lead to career opportunities down the road.
3. Emphasize autonomy. Give your employees the freedom to solve a problem in their own way. Self-direction inspires responsibility and makes a person feel respected.
4. Reward them with responsibility. Make it clear that if someone’s interested in a project, they can request the opportunity to co-lead it with a senior team member. That vote of confidence is a powerful way to inspire motivation.
5. Support their work-life balance. This one is supremely important to millennials, who vet potential jobs for work-life balance. Be their ally. Offer flexible workdays and generous vacation time to those who get their work done.
6. Make workplace culture feel better. Add some design touches to your facilities – better paint, more windows. Initiate a team-building ritual, like going to a favorite pub once a quarter. Install something fun, like a ping pong table.
While some of these ideas may seem like distractions rather than performance-incentives, bear in mind, millennials approach the workplace in a fundamentally-different way than do older generations. Start with incremental changes, and chart the results for yourself. Your millennial workers may surprise you.