Working in digital marketing since its inception provides a wonderful, strategic background to managing Millennials, both individually and in teams. While the number of Gen Z workers (those born after 1994) is growing in the U.S. labor force (currently, they comprise about 10% of total workers), Millennials make up the dominant number of younger workers. And because digital marketing involves technical skills, most of the teams I’ve worked with are comprised of Millennials, both within organizations as well as in agencies.
I’ve learned a lot over the past ten years and, speaking as a manager, here are three tips for maximizing the potential of Millennials, both as team members and as outside agencies.
- Assume, at all times, they are working hard and devising new ways to work efficiently.
For some reason, there’s a misconception that Millennials can be “lazy.” Frankly, I’m not sure where that came from but I’m willing to guess. Many times, when they’re involved in discussions about process – such as, “this is how we do things” – they bristle at the methodology. Often, it’s with good reason.
I can’t count the number of times they’ve suggested a new, different, and often better way to get the work done. Often, it involves new technology or software that makes this possible. In most cases, this is an incredible advantage because it’s a boon to getting work done more efficiently.
So my advice to all managers is this: if you encounter a Millennial rolling his/her eyes at how you do things now, use that as an opportunity to ask them if they know of ways to do better. If they do, this becomes a win-win-win, for you, the individual re-configuring the work, and for the organization, as it becomes more streamlined in its processes.
2) Don’t assume they know your “why.”
Millennials are great at what they do but, like many workers who are starting out, they don’t know everything about your organization or your industry. In fact, it’s not a good idea to assume they know anything, including why you do what you do. My advice is to start with the basics:
- Why have you chosen, as an organization, to do what you?
- What’s the ultimate goal?
- What’s the overall strategy for the organization?
Not only is this helpful for younger workers to know, it can be a great advantage as you recruit new staff as younger generations tend to appreciate organizations that have admirable goals.
Actually, most workers appreciate this. Spending time to share with all your employees what’s important for your organization, where you make a difference in the industry and to your customers and clients, and what your values are, is always time well spent. As it becomes a part of the company culture, it helps ground everyone in why they do what they do. Not only is this great for recruiting employees who want to be part of that mission, it helps to retain valuable workers who share these same goals.
3) Start off on the right foot with your on-boarding process.
Here’s an interesting fact from Robert Half & Associates, the staffing agency: 28% of new employees quit within the first 90 days of their employment. These are new employees who, one can only assume, showed up on their first day eager to work at their new job. Something happened – or didn’t happen – within that “honeymoon” period of the first month or so that led them to make the decision to leave. That’s a big decision for most people so – what would lead anyone to do that, so quickly?
It’s because, in many cases, they were disappointed with what greeted them as soon as the job began. For example, 89% of new hires said they “wanted to meet with their new manager” on the first day, and 83% said they expected to be introduced to their teammates or colleagues. Why wouldn’t that happen? Or, better yet, if that didn’t happen, why not?
“I think one of the biggest mistakes is that organizations don’t recognize the importance of on-boarding,” says Mike Gremmer, a regional VP for Robert Half & Associates. Considering all the time and effort you put into hiring a new person, it makes sense to be sure their entry process goes smoothly.
If you’re still not sure how to best manage your marketing team, or agency, contact me and let’s talk.