FROM THE DESK OF MIKE L SMITH, PROFIT-POINT SUCCESS ADVISORS (www.Profit-Point.net)
It’s a manager’s job to make sure all employees contribute to the company’s overall success. But employees in their 20s may have work habits, social needs and communication styles that pose a challenge.
Many of today’s young people are internally motivated. They want to know what is going on around them in the workplace and in the world – and how what they are doing fits in. They are hungry to learn and eager for affirmation.
This generation prizes fairness and respects accomplishment. They are disproportionately affected by seeing others slide by on the job or being accorded special favors. They resent incompetence.
When managing people in their 20s, it’s important to be yourself. Don’t try to be one of them or pretend to be someone you are not. This generation places great value in trust. It is therefore important to be genuine and authentic. They want you to trust them, and they want to trust you as part of belonging to the larger whole of their workplace. They can sense insincerity and are turned off by it. Give these employees personal attention and recognize their contributions. They want you to trust them, and they want to trust you as part of belonging to the larger whole of their workplace.
Frequent, open, two-way communication, including honest feedback, sincere praise and frank dialogue, is part of the paradigm of the day.
Ask questions, solicit input and listen to the opinions of these young employees. Ask, for example, questions like “What’s the dumbest thing we do around here?” or “What’s something we do that’s a waste of money?” or “How would you reorganize this project?”
The fact that you’re asking such questions will show that you welcome input and value truth-telling. And sometimes the answers will give you real insights into your operations, your markets, your competition, your brand or other aspects of your organization.
People in their 20s aren’t intimidated by authority, and generally they don’t require as much structure as previous generations. They function well in a casual, relaxed work environment and prefer to be held accountable for the results they produce rather than the time they spend on tasks. A generation of multitaskers, they are media-savvy and highly connected with the world around them. Accept that they will be plugged in to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and instant messaging at work. Just get over it.
Today’s young employees also have short attention spans, so give them short-term projects and set weekly or even daily turnaround goals. It’s amazing how productive someone in his or her 20s can be. Moreover, setting regular, predictable objectives will engender a high-velocity work environment and energize your entire workforce.
Consider giving people in their 20s decision-making authority on at least one mission immediately. If you set clear goals, timelines and target dates, they will usually deliver. If they need information or tools to do the job, expect them to seek out and find answers on their own or discuss the problem with you directly.
As a group, people in their 20s have been nurtured and encouraged along the way so they tend to be very confident. They often believe that they can do anything they put their minds to – which is great, even if it’s not necessarily true.
This blog post is an example of some of the Tips, Tricks, and Strategies we cover on our Monthly Group Coaching Program. Check out www.ProfitProGroupCoaching.com for more information.