It's time to lose the generational labels and start looking at the fundamentals of your leadership style.
As you probably already know, the largest demographic joining the workforce today are millennials. Companies have become obsessed with attracting and retaining this very savvy and highly dynamic generation. It’s quickly becoming more and more important for organizations to have millennials on their roster in order to ensure future success.
And from what I’ve seen, they’re getting it all wrong.
To a lot of companies, millennials are a mystery. Many have the impression that they just stroll into offices, expecting good pay, benefits and rewarding work right off the bat and will promptly leave if they don’t feel satisfied. The mistake here is believing that this young workforce feels entitled or lazy when in reality, they just have a different perspective.
Leadership shouldn’t be about managing a particular generation, but just about managing people. We need to lose the labels and preconceived ideas. Over the years I’ve gained some insight into what needs to change in order for you to attract the talent you’re missing. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Ditch the ego.
Your employees don’t expect you to be perfect, or to know the answer to every question. From my experience with hiring, firing, and working with this generation, I’ve found that what they really appreciate is honesty and transparency. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong about something or you don’t know the answer. If you lie, they’ll know you’re lying.
The problem a lot of hiring managers or executives have is that they think they always know the answer to every question. Guess what? You don’t! Leave your ego at the door and be open to new ways of thinking and solving problems. Work towards finding the right balance between being right and being a leader.
Focus on purpose.
Millennials will work hard for money, harder for a good leader, and hardest for a purpose they believe in. Companies winning the war on talent all share one thing in common: they ensure that their employees are aware that the work they do everyday matters. Purpose is not just a feel-good buzzword; it’s critical to a companies survival and growth.
When you create a strong sense of purpose, employees of any generation pour more energy into their work. Establish this clear link, and you will be the company that captures all the top talent you’ve been looking for.
Create the right culture.
In order to attract millennial talent, you’re going to have to create a corporate culture that appeals to them. Things like flexible working hours, opportunities for further learning and the company’s social responsibility matter more to this generation than kegs and nap pods. When applying for jobs, millennials are more concerned with a good cultural fit then they are with the size of their paycheck.
Replacing desks and chairs with hammocks and bean bags is not the answer. Consider making small changes here and there, like allowing a more casual dress code or implementing team-building workshops. Little things can often make a big difference.