Too often you hear people saying, “young people don’t want to work,” but why is that? The chances are if you’re reading this, you’re struggling with a younger employee. 

To better manage millennials, you must first understand them. How are they different from other generations? Remember, they had different parents than you, experienced different world-altering crises, and were born into technology. Just as you are different than the generation before you, they are different from you. There are three good ways to engage with millennials in the workplace.

1. Help them Learn

Millennials just entering in the work force are there to learn, gain experience and position themselves for the next step. Unlike previous generations, Millennials are less likely to want to learn by trial and error. They don’t want to figure out their mistakes and celebrate success. They feel the pressure to do it right the first time. They want to be fully informed and for you to answer all their questions the first time so they are more likely to do it right on the first attempt.

Some view this is laziness because they don’t want to put in the work to figure it out. However, it is kind of smart. Why should they waist time figuring out what someone already has? Shouldn’t they learn from you, the person who knows the most and already has figured it out? Be specific in your instructions and let them shine.

2. Tell them How they are Doing

Growing up, Millennials have received constant attention, feedback and praise for everything they do. So, if they don’t receive any praise, they will think they have done something wrong.  As a whole, it is easy for Millennials to take criticism personally. To maximize their productivity, green industry leaders must learn to properly coach them. Use patience and flexibility. Remember that they don’t have all the knowledge and experience that you do.

Mix in praise and supportive suggestions is a good method for getting the most out of your younger employees. “Praise pays,” but it actually costs nothing. Try saying two or three positives before every one negative criticism. It may be a difficult adjustment, but employees in general like to feel appreciated. And, they want to work in a positive environment. They are more likely to work harder when they know they are valued and a part of something more than themselves.

3. Be Approachable

Millennials appreciate open lines of communication. They want to be a part of a company that they feel like they have power in. Take a look at your company and ask yourself if you have the kind of culture that inhibits cross-communication between upper management and Millennials. If you don’t have open communication it inhibits younger and news employees from being taken seriously when they contribute their ideas and solutions.

Promoting people based on their seniority is has been a part of work culture for a long time. But, that mind set needs to change. Workers should be rewarded for their hard work and contributions to the company, not because they have been there the longest. Millennials will work harder if they see reward, and a paycheck is just a fraction of what they see as reward.

An easy approach to creating dialog is to ask your Millennials, and other employees, what they think about the work culture. This will be eye opening for you in some cases and will allow there to be more communication within your business. Keep an open door policy. As an owner you should allow your employees to come to you with the good and the bad. This communication will help you to better understand conflicts that arise later on and why people do certain things.

Implement these suggestions and you will not only work better with your Millennial employees but create a more efficient and healthy work culture through communication.

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