5 Tips for Working Alongside Millennials

The millennial generation is taking over the workplace - according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data, this year they will surpass both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers as the largest generation in the American workforce. This means that if you look around your office, a full third of your colleagues are between the ages of 18 and 34.If you're a Baby Boomer or Gen Xer, you may be asking yourself, How can I work with these kids who have only researched using Google and think cassette tapes are vintage? As a millennial who knows how to use both a library and a Walkman, let me give you a few insights on working with millennials.


1. Give Us Flexibility As digital natives, we believe that work can take place anywhere there is a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Technology has made it easy to be constantly connected, and with that the line between work and life starts to blur. Millennials place a lot of value in work/life balance (a recent survey shows it ranks as one of the top issues of importance to millennial workers) and as a result, expect flexibility from their workplace. "If companies are going to ask that much of people, they have a responsibility to give more as well," says Kathryn Minshew, CEO and founder of The Muse. If you want to keep a hardworking millennial, you should consider offering variable hours and the ability to work offsite.

2. Give Us Ways to Grow Millennials have a mindset for continual learning and value knowledge and experience. If we don't know how to do something, we can find an article, forum or video online that will teach us how. In the same vein, "millennials want to know that work is a place of growth and development," says Landon Dowdy in Will millennials change the workplace for the better? In fact, when asked how employers could help them advance, millennials chose training, feedback and coaching over cash incentives. Millennials want to grow into great employees - so help them do so.

3. Provide Mentorship Not only do millennials want to learn and grow, they want to learn from the best. You might be surprised to hear that we actually "admire and want to work with other generations." It's true - our generation wants to pick the brains of the more experienced people in our industry and learn from people who have accomplished what we hope to. Providing mentorship opportunities or letting younger employees work alongside more experienced ones will help foster a stronger workforce all around.

4. Be Accessible Most millennials don't just want a job, we want a career we are passionate about where we have purpose and can make a difference. Traditional closed-door offices, managerial hierarchies and doing things because it's always been done that way will only turn millennials away. We're a generation that is used to emailing our professors and tweeting at our idols, and appreciate clear two-way communication between ourselves and office leadership. Creating a culture that makes it safe for everyone, no matter their job title, to speak up and have their voice heard creates support among employees and brings fresh ideas to the surface.

5. Be Open to Our MindsetIt is obvious that the workplace is changing, and as more and more employees are of the millennial generation, its worth looking at their mindset and learning from it. Milliennials are driven by the need to make a difference, and as well as being intellectually curious, we are also an adaptable, logical and efficient group. In previous years new generations entered the workforce and assimilated to their elders - but with millennials, it seems to be working the other way around. "We're at one of the inflection points in history," Bruce Tulgan predicts. "We're going to get more like them."Millennials have a lot to learn and a lot to offer. "They will be the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world, but they may also be the most high performing," says Tulgan. In fact, in a recent survey by Great Place to Work found that companies ranking high in the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials reported almost $2 million more in net profit. So embrace the millennial generation, and watch your workplace change for the better.