Seven Tips on Managing Millennials from Two of Their Own
Throughout history, every generation has criticized the one that follows it. The “Greatest Generation” had serious doubts about the work ethic of those crazy kids who became known as the “Baby Boomers,” and so it has gone for every generation.
The current group causing consternation among owners and managers of companies are the young employees who were born between 1980 and 2000 – the millennials. Citing a Gallup poll from 2016, a business owner recently expressed her frustration in Entrepreneur magazine. “Millennials do not feel close ties to their jobs, with only 29 percent of millennial workers feeling engaged at work. This sense of detachment causes palpable frustration for both the millennial and the employer. With a feeling of commitment, the employer is more likely to invest scarce resources in a new employee. If they feel you have one foot out the door, an employer like me is likely to send you on your way.”
For many human resource managers and CEOs of both small and large companies, managing this group of young workers, who often exude a sense of entitlement and nonchalance about what is expected in the workplace, is frustrating and unproductive. Some have decided to outsource the human resource services, such as employee relations and training along with payroll and tax administration, benefits administration, and risk management and compliance to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) such as Resourcing Edge.
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Ted Crawford, the founder and CEO of Resourcing Edge, has built a team that serves hundreds of companies and thousands of employees while enjoying a 94 percent client retention rate. This outstanding rate is no accident. It is the result of recruiting, hiring and training quality employees, more than a few of which are millennials.
Launched in 2003, Resourcing Edge provides cost-effective, integrated and customized solutions to manage clients’ human resource responsibilities.
“The millennial workers are a source of frustration to many of our clients, but they don’t have to be,” said Crawford. “Many business analysts have noted that this group of under-thirty-year-olds was coddled by their parents and received accolades for just showing up. This has led to a sense of entitlement in the workplace. However, it is a mistake to paint all millennials with a broad stroke.
“Sometimes, that contrarian attitude of these young workers is based on a lack of training and understanding of a company’s business objectives. Our company has been fortunate to have several outstanding employees who fall in the millennial age group, and I learn something new from them all of the time!”
Because of his experience in managing client human resources, benefits, payroll, and risk management while motivating his own younger employees, Crawford and two of his talented millennial managers – Lydia Moore and Matt Kinnear – are excellent sources for tips on understanding the priorities of millennials.
Meet Two Millennials Who Understand How to SucceedLydia Moore is a risk manager for Resourcing Edge. In this role, she manages all of the clients’ insurance responsibilities. She feels her young age is an advantage.
“I think it helps me,” she said. “We are a growing company and, as such, we are looking to become a large PEO in the future by incorporating innovations. My contribution is a fresh set of eyes. Some risk management processes may have worked in the past, but they don’t always work well now. My job is to evaluate these and make recommendations on their streamlining.”
Matt Kinnear is the director of client services, and he has a little different take on whether his youth is an advantage or disadvantage.
“I’m not sure it helps or hurts,” he said. “Any young person in the workplace has obstacles in front of them. Many coworkers have preconceived notions about millennials. However, every young worker from all of the previous generations has experienced this same type of skepticism.
“My approach has been to put my head down and go to work. You let you work product speak for itself. Hopefully, this is seen by your peers and supervisors, and, if it continues to be good, you will move up in the organization.”
What Other Businesses Can Learn From Resourcing Edge
“Before joining Resourcing Edge, I was working at a Fortune 500 company, and I felt stagnant,” said Moore. “There was no opportunity to grow and no career path. I wanted to work someplace where I could make an impact and help build the business.
“Resourcing Edge talked to me about growth and promoting from within. I also noticed the company’s flexibility with its employees, and this resonated with me. The position where an employee starts does not limit them to future roles in the company. This is important, especially to millennials.
“We employ this attitude with our clients’ personnel issues as well. If there is an employee problem, we want to know ‘how did we get here?’. There is often a situation where an employee is hired for a position, and then does not get appropriate training in order to succeed. As every business owner knows, turnover is very costly.”
Kinnear added his take on what clients can learn from Resourcing Edge.
“We have a very personalized approach to hiring staff, and the company allows every employee to have experience in all facets of the business.
“In my case, entering the PEO industry was challenging,” he said. ”There are a lot of moving parts, and it is very difficult to keep it all straight. When I was first starting, my managers allowed me to experience every part of the business for at least one month. This allowed me to get exposure and learn about the entire organization.”
What Benefits are Important to Millennials?
“All millennials are not the same,” Moore said. “The preferences for a workplace environment and benefits differ from one individual to another. The stereotypical perks, such as beanbag chairs and Ping-Pong tables, are important to some younger workers, but not for every millennial.
“For me, morale is more important than superficial items. I want to work in a department and company that are positive.
“Millennials don’t enjoy working in companies that ‘silo off’the departments. If the company encourages employees to grow in their department and collaborate with other departments, it can make a big impact on its overall health.”
Industries where millennials are well-represented, such as technology, have different pay scales and benefit packages.
“The technology sector is leading the pack in terms of workplace environment and digital benefits,” Kinnear said. “This is due to the high level of competition for workers. Colleges are turning out great engineers and attracting these highly skilled workers is very competitive.
“One important thing companies can do to attract younger workers is to take the time to explain what the benefits are and how they work. Most young employees don’t understand benefits, and explaining these will help the employer retain them.”
A Robust Technology Platform is Critical
“We have grown up with the ability to get an answer anytime, anywhere. This is significant to millennials who are often the first to vocalize when technology isn’t up to par,” said Moore. “We actively train our clients on Resourcing Edge’s technology offerings to avoid employees encountering issues.
“Having a strong technology platform that allows employees to immediately get an answer and make changes is very important to this group. Obviously, this involves either investing in this technology or outsourcing this to a company such as ours.”
The seven tips from these two, highly successful millennials are:
- Training and a collaborative workplace culture are more important than age.
- Millennials want to make an impact on the company, and good employers channel that enthusiasm through short- and long-term metrics.
- If possible, younger workers should be given an opportunity to experience working in every department in the company.
- Morale and team-building are important to millennials.
- Allowing young workers the flexibility to work with and understand other departments can lead to more job satisfaction and productivity.
- Companies should take the time to explain benefits, such as insurance, to every new employee, especially millennials.
- An up-to-date technology platform that allows access 24/7 for benefits and payroll information is very important to younger workers.
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