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Managing People: Working with Millennials

By 2020, Millennials will make up 35% of the global workforce. Research says Millennials work as hard, if not harder than other generations, and are optimistic about their careers. But why do Employers find it hard to work with them? Why do this same employers view millennials as entitled? In my opinion, they view us millennials like this because we beat the traditional way of doing things. I mean small things like asking questions when we do not understand, rather that going to kill ourselves discovering, being able to say no when we have the right to among many other scenarios.

Tokeo la picha la mistakes when working with millenials

What mistakes then are employers making when it comes to millennials when it comes to working with them that need to be rectified as soon as possible (ASAP)? In the next few paragraphs I will highlight the 4 major assumptions/feelings that employers have about millennials. I will start with the fact that employers assume that all millennials are alike. (Of course, mostly on a negative note.) Well, not all of us are alike. Some millennials yes have it all together properly while others do not, however they are on their way to getting there. Instead of judging them, why not guide them on how they can be better? Another assumption employers have is that we love technology for play. In as much as we are technology addicts, its not just all for play, you will be shocked by some of the great innovations we come up with just by using the different forms of technology we have at our disposal.

In addition to this, employers end up feeling like it is a problem to ask why, and yet this is the questions millennials ask the most i.e. Why should I do it? Why me? Why not him/her? etc. It’s not wrong to ask these questions, but I am sure you’re probably thinking, “Really Melanie, an employer is your boss. You shouldn’t ask any questions. Just do it!” I agree that they are my boss yes, but to be honest I think it is great to ask questions, just politely which we do. Its just that sometimes whatever we ask comes out as though we are asking rudely.

Tokeo la picha la how to work with millenials

So, how then can organizations cope when working with millennials?

Set clear expectations

From the word go, be clear with what you expect from us as millennials. If it means setting our specific targets for what we need to achieve with us, then let’s do it together! Just so that we are able to know what exactly you expect from us.

Give Feedback

Giving feedback is the only way employers will get the most out of their millennial workforce. Let me know when I am doing something wrong, correct me it really won’t cost you much. Also, let me know what I am doing right and what I need to improve on.

Allow sharing of ideas

Millennials have so many ideas running through their minds, however they keep them to themselves because most organizations do not provide a platform for them to share their ideas. This hinders them from sharing the ideas. Employers should then encourage a brainstorm culture & an idea dumping site in their organizations where employees can just feel free to put their ideas out there.

Listen to your millennial managers

Does your organization have millennial managers? If not, its about time you got a few of them.  They can definitely go a long way in guiding you on how to lead millennials and work with them.

Responsiveness to a changing world

Don’t be so stiff as an organization! Change with world. If working from a common working

space is what will get the work done, go ahead and try it is. Please mark the word TRY. If you

do not need all your staff to come to the office on a daily basis, then start practicing it slowly by

slowly. Millennials are moving really fast with the changes in the world, they are slowly being

inclined to working remotely or even not working on every day of the week. TRY and change 

with them, it could just work for you.

So, what exactly is my perspective as a millennial working with emerging SME’s when it comes to this whole conversation? What cheats can I give employers for them to have in mind when working millennials?

  1. Provide opportunities for learning and development.

It is what may keep your millennial workforce. Money isn’t everything. You will be surprised to learn this from the millennials you work with.

  • Work life – Balance is everything.

For millennials, being able to work and still have a life on the side means everything. So give them just that!

  • Be mentors

Since we are still “growing up” we definitely need people to guide us and if we can get that     at work, even better.

  • Work on your Company Culture

For millennials, the office is like a second family. A proper company culture can make us work with you for a very long time due to the fact that we feel at home.

  • We Live for recognition

You’re probably thinking how childish! Well, it’s the truth. We love to be recognized, even for the smallest job done. Just a simple thank you for your contribution.

  • Make work fun

Yes! Yes! Yes! Work shouldn’t be boring all the time. Let’s have a few work hangouts, let’s have lunch together or even organize game nights and many other activities.

With these tips, I can assure you that if practiced, you will notice a change when it comes to how you have been getting along with your millennial workforce. GO FORTH AND TRY IT OUT! Thanks for reading this post, feel free to drop your comments below. For business enquiries with regards to writing articles, reach out to me via melanienamulwany@gmail.com

Thank you Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) -Nairobi chapter for letting me be one of the panelists during the Leading Millennials panel on 4th June 2019 that inspired me to write this post months later. It truly was an honor to be a part of the panel and just give my insights on this whole conversation.

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