How to Get Away With Managing Millennials

By Chloe Taylor - Sep. 20, 2016
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Chloe Taylor. Her opinions are her own.

Did you know that 75% of millennials have a profile on at least one social media network? That’s quite a lot, especially when you consider there are almost 80 million millennials residing within the US alone.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that as many as 55% of them will post at least one selfie every week. And on average – millennials spend at least an hour per week to get that perfect selfie. That’s a full hour of some high quality self-admiration.

Speaking from the perspective of a millennial – yes, it is evident that we can be a little bit egotistic, to say the least. But what is even more important – we can be quite helpful around the workplace.

In fact, one of the positive aspects millennials can be proud of is the fact that we are a generation that is actively engaged in everything that concerns us. So while some of us are saving the planet as we speak, others are mastering technologies that are shaping the future! This means that we’re not all that spoiled as most of the members of Gen X believe, and probably all of the Baby Boomers firmly accept as an absolute truth.

However, managing members of Generation Y (the millennials) can be a somewhat tedious task. Dealing with delicate personalities with high expectations and no patience can really cause a lot of disturbance in the workplace.

So what are millennials expecting from their bosses? What motivates them, and how can you keep them engaged in their work?

Let’s start with the basics and see what type of a boss millennials respect.

Be a leader, not a manager

Taking the high stand and insisting on establishing an authority over your millennial workers is a fast lane to nowhere. An average millennial will probably smile to your face and then quit without any notice when they find a better job.

However, if you want to keep them around, know that they are looking for leaders, not bosses.

What is the difference? Leaders coach their teams, they identify themselves with their workers and are dedicated to developing individuals and their unique skill-sets instead of labelling their employees.

If you are looking for a way to keep them interested in their job (because they will most probably expect from you to do so), here are a few tips that you should have in mind:

  1. They need to feel valued;
  2. They need to have confidence in your leadership;
  3. They have to actually like what they do;
  4. They want to progress at work; and
  5. They want to be appreciated as individuals, not referred to as if they are nothing more than a number.

According to Barnum Financial Group, 60% of millennials need to feel like their work actually matters. They want their opinion to be valued and they want their work to be fulfilling and to actually have a purpose. However, nurturing them isn’t enough. When they arrive at the office, believe it or not, they want to feel like they are home.

Home is where the office is

If you want to keep your millennials engaged in their work and actually present around the office (both mentally and physically), know that 21% of them will resent being there.

In fact, according to research conducted by PwC, they would prefer to work remotely. However, as many as 29% don’t mind working from a centralized hub located in a major city.

Unsurprisingly, 20% of them want to work from wherever the heck they want to, because you’re not the boss of them! Even when you are, in fact, the boss of them, this is exactly how they feel.

Knowing the fact that almost 30% of them will be willing to make a compromise and actually show up in their place of work, a few general guidelines are in order as well. At least if you are planning to keep them around.

A transparent BYOD policy is very important to this particular age group. If your company doesn’t have a bring your own device policy, then you shouldn’t expect to attract a lot of millennials. You should probably know that 6 out of 10 workers aged 20 – 35, are actively using their personal devices and apps for work.

BYOD in the workplace skews toward younger segments of employees

But when it comes to the actual surroundings, keep in mind that this generation will hardly feel productive in a corporate type of environment. Millennials are famous for spending less and less time behind their desks!

Actually, for only 40% of their working hours they are behind their computers, and for 60% of the time they are simply buzzing around. This is why it would be a wise idea to support an open office culture and install more boardroom tables instead of cubicles or separate, individual offices.

Furthermore, know that they will personalize the place as much as they possibly can. So just let them have it. The more comfortable they feel the more productive they will get. That being said, if you really want the top talent, here are the features that they are expecting.

Recruitment tips and insights

Believe it or not, 33% of millennials expect to be able to apply for a position in your company via their mobile phone. As many as 38% of them are willing to work through regular working hours, as long as you are flexible about that.

Finally, the top three reasons why a millennial will accept a position in your company are the following:

  1. You offered a generous compensation package
  2. You are offering a chance for professional development
  3. You are offering a legitimate chance for career advancement

According to the aforementioned PwC study, opportunity for career progression is one of the key factors that will attract top talent. In fact, as many as 52% of them are expecting this from their employer.

Competitive wages and chances of attending development programs follow, but a factor which shouldn’t be neglected as well is your company’s brand. Trust me when I say this, 10% of millennials will turn down the position simply because they cannot identify with your brand message! Should we be surprised, or should we expect anything else from a generation that practically grew up online?

Which of the following things do you believe make an organisation an attractive employer

The last tip is to adapt to social media ASAP. HR departments know that this particular age group is dominating the social networks, so indulge them and get online. In fact, 94% of recruiters are actively using social networks to find the very best talent for their companies already.


Although they might come off as needy and narcissistic, millennials can also be quite ambitious and great team workers if the conditions are right. After all, by the end of 2018, 75% of your workplace will be millennials.

So adapt, evolve, and embrace the millennials.

Chloe is a young blogger and a huge fan of social media. She enjoys learning and writing about design, business, psychology and productivity related topics. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take stunning photographs of beautiful places.


Chloe Taylor

Chloe is a young blogger and a huge fan of social media. She enjoys learning and writing about design, business, psychology and productivity related topics. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take stunning photographs of beautiful places.

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