How to Manage Millennials in the Workplace

Working with remote employees often means working with millennials. As a generation, millennials crave work-life balance, and virtual assistant work can offer that flexibility. 

Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, or 1980 and 1994, depending on who you ask, now make up the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce. And unfortunately, they carry some unflattering stereotypes with them. Millennials are often accused of being lazy and entitled, with an “adapt to me and my needs” mentality. They fancy themselves unique, meaning they don’t want to follow the antiquated systems of the past. 

There is no doubt that every generation has their flaws. So while you may be rolling your eyes at the participation trophies this generation grew up with, we believe there are common characteristics of millennials that make them wonderful employees. 

Here are millennials’ 4 best qualities that can help your business flourish. 

Adaptive

Millennials grew up in an ever-changing world of technological innovation. They watched the Internet become mainstream, and were first adopters of email, social media, smartphones, and every iteration thereafter. To say the least, the Internet has changed the world, and people have changed with it. Because of this, we know most millennials to be extremely adaptive. Change does not scare them. They expect it. In fact, stagnation for this generation can be scarier than change, because change often means progress. 

If you want to pivot your business, or make an ambitious change to your operations, this generation won’t back down from the challenge. Invite them to help spearhead the integration to new software, assist with training, or update your standard operating procedures. This might be the change from business-as-usual they crave, and become an excellent opportunity for leadership training. But make sure you keep the vision well articulated and top-of-mind, so they always remember what they’re working toward.

Curious

We often underestimate the effect of growing up in the Information Age. Any question Gen Y asks can be answered instantly. Thanks to search engines and websites like Quora, this generation will never know ignorance. The privilege of infinite information has bred in millennials an insatiable curiosity that is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it can result in hours spent in the gutters of the Internet watching viral cat videos or trolling gossip sites. On the other, it enables the millennial to become masters of their domain — without hand-holding.

This translates to workplace behavior in many ways. For one, millennials can operate autonomously, and are used to independent online learning. We love that many are willing to try to figure out a problem on their own before going to a leader for help, because surely they can Google their questions. These are the VAs that can help you find the best practices for hosting a webinar, or find out if a new software is right for your business. It’s okay to throw them into unknown territory, because as far as they see it, there’s someone on the Internet who can give them the answers. 

Passionate + Purposeful

Unlike other generations, millennials grew up believing that your passion and your career can, and should, intersect. They don’t subscribe to the belief that work is just for the paycheck, or that you should stay in the same job for 20+ years because it’s what you’ve always done. Many millennials won’t stay at a job for more than 2-5 years if it’s not contributing toward their larger goals.  

Job-hopping is a frustration for employers, but can be harnessed. We’ve heard that millennials believe in “corporate lattice.” Unlike the corporate ladder, which relies on others to promote you based on linear growth in one company, the corporate lattice reflects a millennial’s willingness to make frequent lateral moves if those new opportunities will expand their skills and bring them closer to their dream job. 

Make sure you ask your millennial VAs, or candidates for employment, questions like: 

  • What are you passionate about? 
  • What do you need to be passionate about to thrive in this position? 
  • What kind of work really excites you? 
  • Describe your ideal client. Who would it be, and what would you be doing for them all day? 
  • What results would you be getting for your client and what value would you feel bringing them those results? 

If your company can help a millennial engage with their passions and make them feel like their work is purposeful, they will deliver beyond expectations and thrive in a long-term relationship with you.

Social 

You can’t throw a rock without hitting a millennial with a smartphone in their hand. And if you wait long enough, you’ll see them talk about it on social media. Millennials are a connected generation, to say the least. Sharing their life publicly is normal, but goes beyond just keeping up with family and friends. For many, social media is a platform for their personal brand, and if they have enough followers, can be monetized with sponsored posts, endorsements and advertisements. This may seem like a foreign way of life for Baby Boomers and Gen X, but for millennials, this is a perfectly normal way to make a living. 

Again,we believe this is both a blessing and a curse. We think social media has created a generation of mild narcissists who feel entitled to making money simply by “being themselves.” But what we also see is a group of people desperately seeking belonging, and doing whatever it takes to be seen and heard. Despite using filters to create the image of perfection, millennials are also sharing raw stories and demanding authenticity from others, and brands.

As a business owner, tap into this desire for authenticity. Invite your millennial VAs to provide feedback on your social media presence, or manage them entirely. Is your brand being real? Is it relatable? Is it telling stories that solve your potential clients’ problems, or only telling your story? Give millennials creative freedom to be social for you, and let your brand reap the benefits. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what a Virtual Assistant can do for your business, contact us here. Our team will help you determine how your business can benefit from our Priority VAs.

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