First off, what is a millennial?? Well, a millennial is typically characterized as a person that was born between 1980 and 2000. They are sometimes referred to as Generation Y as well since they are the group following Generation X. These are the individuals that are (or will be) running the show. They are tech savvy, always connected and consider working hard and playing hard equally important. Millennials have also been accused of being lazy and a bit self-absorbed (they do love those selfies). With such an influential group nipping at our heels, it is essential to know how to relate to them. Here are some handy tips:
1. Learn Their Technology
Millennials were introduced to cell phones on the playground. Technology has always been an intricate part of their lives. In order to keep up and understand what makes them tick, you need to be knowledgeable of the devices they are using and the apps they can’t live without. If you don’t own it, at least check out the newest iPhone. Ask questions. What tablet is hot on the market right now? And, if you aren’t familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram, you have some work to do.
2. Be Straightforward
You need to tell a millennial exactly what you want, how you want it done and when you need it done. They were raised by “helicopter parents” guiding their every move to keep them on track and keep them safe. They may require a little more direction but, they will get the job done. Millennials are planners and goal setters. They are used to the structure and schedules their parents/teachers have been planning for years. So, send them down the proper path and watch them go for it (just don’t forget to check on them now and then).
3. Engage Them
The key to getting a millennial’s attention is to use visuals. This is after all, the YouTube generation. A millennial has probably never written a letter in his or her life. Their attention shifts constantly from one device to another. Communicate through texts or email but keep it brief and to the point. Use bold headlines, vivid colors and quick bullet points. If you can throw a little humor in, it will be much appreciated.
4. Motivate Them
Millennials are very busy individuals. Why should they be a part of this project? What’s in it for them? Can they add it to their resume? Will it give them some thrill or excitement they aren’t already exposed to? Will it be beneficial to their family? Be sure to give them a purpose and an active role.
5. Give Them Instant Gratification
Millennials work well under pressure and within deadlines. Teach them how to do the job. When they do it well, tell them-NOW. With the fast paced world they are accustomed to if they don’t feel needed and wanted, they will bolt. Give small rewards and praise often. They also get bored easily so, find new goals for them to achieve as they conquer the old ones. If a millennial feels valued and respected, they will be an excellent team player.
Jolene earned a degree in Sociology from Montana State University. She has done extensive research on the family structure, social media and social class. She writes a daily humorous blog that can be enjoyed at www.alljolene.com. Jolene lives in Montana with her husband and two daughters.