If you’re a human resources manager that read the title of this article, you likely cringed, especially if you are well-established in your career. “Of course the entitled millennial generation would demand that HR is tailored to their needs,” you might be thinking. I would counter by pointing out that an organization’s HR policies should be designed to support every generation, and that the most successful human resources programs are built to support and foster employee development and organizational stability. Keeping millennials in mind should simply be an update to an already comprehensive system. If you’ve already crafted an HR program that is well-suited for the millennial generation, kudos to you! If not, hopefully, these three tips will help you foster a collaborative, healthy environment that positions your company for future success.
Cultivate methods of effective feedback
Millennials, especially the youngest half of the generation, have grown up with 24/7 connectivity. Smartphones, instant messaging, social media and other technological advances have altered societal standards of appropriate and expected communication. Perhaps no one example exemplifies this change more than the workplace, where historically feedback likely occurred in annual or biannual performance reviews. Millennials, growing up with constant virtual communication, have walked into a system that is entirely different than what they are accustomed to. While a company could insist that millennials acquiesce to their traditional feedback system, effective HR managers find ways to meet millennials in the middle. Offering employees a choice in feedback frequency can go a long way in keeping your workforce satisfied and informed. Effective feedback for millennials should consider frequency, the mode of communication and the incorporation of 360-degree feedback to ensure that millennials know their HR managers have a real interest in their development.
Provide millennials with avenues of access
Whether it’s starting a staff meeting with a chance to share new ideas, creating blocks of time for one-on-one interactions or allowing low-level staff an opportunity to email an executive once per quarter, giving millennials access to upper-management is a surefire way to increase their productivity and satisfaction. Millennials often desire access and the ability to make quick impacts. While it’s important to temper expectations and communicate realistic timelines and boundaries, it’s also important to create systems for millennials to have their contributions heard and felt.
Create a community of partnerships
For companies looking to attract and retain young talent, it is critical to create a business environment where partnerships exist between millennials and their superiors. Millennials want to feel collaboration with their employer, and they want to know that the partnership is mutually beneficial. Millennials also want to know that when their boss asks them to accomplish a task, they can ask for the tools to do the job effectively. For millennials, it’s important that HR is seen as a strategic resource, and they are not just an employee number in a cubical.
Creating an HR program that effectively manages many generations is a challenge, but is not impossible. Following these guidelines will help any HR manager integrate the millennial generation into the workflow and get the most out of their potential.