If you employ Millennials you know they can be a different kind of worker. They don't like rules, want their bosses to treat them as friends, loathe to part with their phones and want flexible work arrangements. Tim Eisenhauer, president and cofounder of the social business software platform Axero Solutions, sees the flip side: Millennials want to make a difference, which makes them ideal employees. Here's his advice on motivating younger employees to do their best work.
Give them access to everyone.
In other words, they do better in flatter organizations where they can bounce an idea off the CEO or get an answer to a question the minute it occurs to them. Think about it--for their whole lives Millennials have been able to Google anything and get information immediately. "They want that same access inside the workplace," Eisenhauer says. Asking them to maneuver company hierarchy is maddening for younger people.
Make sure they understand you're listening to them.
"They want to know that they can contribute ideas. They want to know that they'll be heard. They want to know that their contributions matter, and often they want it their way," he says. "And I think, well, why not?"
Don't expect them to solve problems your way.
They're great with technology, for one thing. So, if you cut them loose to figure something out they may do it faster and more creatively than your usual methods. "They'll probably surprise you," he says.
Let them choose how and when they want to work.
If they want to bang out a pile of work in the evening when they're feeling creative or inspired what sense does it make to chain them to a desk from 9 to 5? "If people are doing their jobs and getting their projects completed, that's really what matters--performance," he says. "We don't have set work hours, we don't keep track of work hours. Once you start doing that I think people try to game the system."
Give them room to be social.
You'd expect this advice since Axero's platform is geared for internal collaborations and communications as well as knowledge management, but as another CEO recently pointed out, they're never going to stop looking at their phones. "From my experience in working with Millennials, it's no longer about work-life [balance]. It's just life," he says. "They're always connected."