Blog Imagesby Randy Gagnon, OGR Member Brunswick Memorial Home

As of 2015, Millennials have surpassed Generation X as the largest workforce in today’s economy (Pew Research Center, 2015). Millennials will be assuming more and more positions in your firm and with the vendors you encounter daily; therefore, knowing how to successfully manage them is critical to the future of any business.  Do you know how to manage this generation to maximize their productivity?

While there are no exact years as to when this generation begins and ends, researchers typically believe them to be born in the early 1980s to early 2000s (Wikipedia).  This much is true: Millennials are the product of a different time, with different values, different motivations, and different desires than many of those who manage them. Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled, Internet-driven, and socially-networked environment.

Interestingly enough, Millennials have received the most marketing attention of any generation (Forbes, 2017). They have been taught to ‘follow their dreams’.  They were raised in structured environments but have had substantial contact with vast and diverse groups of people via the Internet.

Like many generations of workers, performance lies in management. Here are some best practices for maximizing the potential of your millennial employees from the perspective of a Millennial:

  1. ‘Provide Structure, Leadership, and Guidance’
    Millennials want a mentor and want to receive feedback. Consider offering each millennial employee the chance for mentorship and provide them with clearly defined goals at their annual review. Assess their progress and offer constructive feedback. A structured training program is key to their success.
  2. ‘Team Environment’
    Utilize the concept of groups and teams. The lone ranger attitude is a thing of the past. Millennials have experienced team success in school, online, and in other work environments. You can train Millennials as a team and capitalize on their affinity for networking.
  3. ‘Open Communication’pexels-photo-306534
    Millennials have grown up in a digital age where information is just a keystroke away. They value honesty because they can fact check information quickly using Google and want to know the big picture. They have grown up in a social media environment, which has given them a forum for expressing their ideas and opinions.
  4. ‘Engagement’
    Boring is bad! Millennials are exceptional multi-taskers. Research shows that Millennials switch their attention between media platforms at a rate of 27 times per hour (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2012), so don’t be afraid to give them multiple tasks to accomplish at a time. You might even consider putting them in charge of your social media platforms if they’re a trusted employee. Social media is a cost effective way to market your firm and reach a large preneed audience, and Millennials are familiar with how to manage it.

  5. ‘Skill Set’
    The electronic capabilities of this work force are of high value to your firm. How many of you bought a product online in the last week or month? E-commerce is how our economy is functioning and an online presence is a must in this marketplace. Take advantage of your millennial employees’ computer literacy and get their input on your website, social media presence, and other technologies.
  6. ‘Work to Live’
    Millennials value a work-life balance. They are not interested in the 60-hour work week of the Baby Boomers. They are looking for a fun, employee-centered workplace. Do you offer workplace team activities? Are you able to offer a healthy work-life balance? 

Getting the best work possible out of Millennials requires a hybrid mixture of mentoring and managing. Always be proactive in managing them by developing a plan based on their capabilities, strengths, and areas of growth. Build and create a culture of ‘experiential questioning’, which requires communication and engagement. By creating a clear path of collaboration with your Millennial employees, your relationship can be mutually beneficial for both you and your millennial staffers.

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and push in the right direction'”
~ John C. Crosby

by Randy Gagnon

Randy Gagnon is a New Jersey Licensed Funeral Director. He graduated from the Funeral Service Program at Mercer Community College in 2012 and currently works for OGR member Brunswick Memorial Home in East Brunswick, New Jersey.