By the year 2020, a University of North Carolina study suggests that millennials will make up 46 percent, or almost half, of the entire workforce in the United States.
This will necessitate a number of changes in both technology use and learning options, but perhaps the biggest change will be in the management of these workers.
As opposed to being “supervised” like previous generations, the millennial worker responds much better to being coached or mentored.
The millennial worker is used to constant feedback. The era of being seen but not heard for children gave way to a culture of child-centered households when the millennial children were born. Their baby boomer parents wanted to do things differently in life, and that included their approach to parenting. Constant, positive feedback, frequent learning opportunities masquerading as games and activities, and technological connections that allowed “checking in” several times a day were all part of the process.
As a result, the millennial worker is not happy with a once a year performance review and a chance to do the same job over and over again. They demand constant feedback and expect new challenges every year or two or they will leave to find them elsewhere.
One method of creatively interpreting that in the workplace is to create mentorship programs that linked older, more experienced workers with the millennials. The technology-savvy younger worker often ends up helping the older worker learn some shortcuts and tricks with technology, and in return, they get the feedback and encouragement they are used to and they learn faster.
Using eLearning and gamification in learning is another effective process to bring the millennial worker quickly up to speed on the job. Used to gathering new information online and used to the fun of computer games, the millennial worker finds ways to adapt quickly to take advantage of new learning opportunities.
As a means of coping with the impatience of the millennial worker to progress and change, bringing the new workers onto teams that could benefit from their technological expertise is a good way to help them connect with their co-workers and learn new skills at the same time.
Be aware from the start that your millennial worker is not making any promises to be with you for a long time, but in the time they are there, by investing in coaching and mentoring, they are likely to stay with you for a substantial amount of time.