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Apr 09

5 Must-Knows About Millennial Managers

As of 2015, millennials (loosely, those born between 1980 and the late 1990s) make up the majority of the U.S. workforce. More than 28 percent are managers now; two-thirds see themselves in management within the next decade. What does that mean for workplaces? Here’s what you need to know.

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1. It’s about working together, not hierarchies “Millennials manage much more collaboratively than any other generation,” says Brad Karsh, founder and CEO of JB Training Solutions and author of Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management. They grew up doing more activities in groups than previous generations, Karsh says, “more clubs, more games, more camps, more things where they work together.” That translates to leaders who look for lots of input. “Less command-and-control, more team-based,” says Jim Moffatt, managing director of Deloitte Global. It’s something Jilly Badanes, who works in marketing and business development for a start-up in New York, has discussed often with friends. “We’ve all had frustration in the past with micromanagers who don’t trust that you have a vision that might be successful. But now that we’re managers, we see that it can be hard to empower someone and trust them to figure it out, especially when you think you’ve got the best way.” Badanes, 29, had a 22-year-old intern over the summer who “had a lot of different tech knowledge than I did. I’m pretty savvy, but social media and other technology changes so quickly. I realized there were some things a 22-year-old could bring to the table that I couldn’t.”

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2. Personal values matter “We all spent a lot of time early in our career thinking about what sort of life/work integration we wanted,” says Badanes. “Now we’re creating that for the people we manage.” She sees more blending of the professional and personal at work. “It’s about getting to know people, being transparent about values and priorities even outside the office, being open about going to yoga class in the middle of the day and then working an hour later if that’s your priority. We’re focused on results rather than in-your-chair time; we’re thinking about how can you help each other create that work/life balance you envision.” Deloitte’s 2016 survey of nearly 7,700 millennials found that 64 percent in senior positions (heads of department and above) said their personal values and morals are the most influential factor in their decision-making at work (meeting their organization’s profit or revenue targets ranked fifth). “They’re very value-centric and purpose-oriented,” says Moffatt. “They’re less concerned about the size or complexity of a project and more concerned about the impact. Buzz and hype matter less than whether it’s aligned with what they think is important.”

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3. Regular feedback is key Sixty percent of millennials want to hear from their managers at least once a day, says Karsh, a contrast to previous generations who believed no news is good news. “We’ve changed our approach to have much more frequent touch points and check-ins,” says Moffatt. “Praise and appreciation is the number one driver for every generation,” Karsh says, “but millennials want more of it.” The days of the once-a-year performance evaluation are gone.

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4. Promotions matter less than meaning “It’s not a corporate ladder but corporate scaffolding,” says Karsh. Millennials want to find a sense of meaning and purpose in their work, whether that’s doing work that has a purpose within the larger scope of the company, or working for a company that is doing something that benefits others.

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5. Changing jobs frequently is the norm Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey found that 44 percent would quit their current job to do something different in the next two years. “Millennials who witnessed their parents getting laid off in 2008 intuitively get that no company is going to provide them any kind of long-term career path,” says Dan Finnigan, Jobvite CEO. “They’re under the assumption, ‘I’m going to work there two or three or four years and I’m going to get out. I call it ‘serial monogamy.’” Some workers—the “Boomerangs”— will leave and come back. “Businesses have to focus on leadership and understand people come in and out of organizations. While they’re here you want to make sure they have a great experience,” Moffatt says.

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