Since Millennials have taken over as the majority of the U.S. workforce, you’ve likely welcomed many of these younger adults to your department or team. You might have even heard the millennial generation characterized as mostly entitled, disengaged, or even disloyal; however, with the right leadership techniques, you should find that the younger generation will prove those stereotypes wrong. In fact, the positive characteristics of millennial workers can help you make your workplace better than ever.
Learning to Lead the Future of our Government: Suggestions for Effectively Motivating Millennial Employees as They Enter the Federal Workforce
In order to lead younger employees effectively, it’s helpful to understand what they really want out of their working lives. According to a 2017 Gallup Poll of more than 200,000 employees, millennials’ ideals about their careers actually aligned very closely with their Generation X and Baby Boomer co-workers in important ways. They want stable employment, good benefits, and a chance to progress in their careers.
They may differ somewhat from baby boomers because they place more emphasis upon having jobs that allow them to feel as if they are making a difference. In fact, that desire may have led them to apply for a public sector job in the first place. In addition, millennial employees also value workplaces that allow them independence and flexibility, and you may have some concerns that your particular bureaucracy won’t lend itself so well to these goals.
Three Suggestions to Manage Expectations and Engagement for Millennial Employees
With these similarities and differences in mind, you can begin to come up with some simple steps to keep millennial employees engaged, productive, and loyal.
1. Actively Promote Employee Engagement
A FedSmith article discussed two commonly cited features of jobs that engage employees. These two vital aspects of engaging jobs usually get listed in this order:
- Employees need to understand what their bosses expect of them.
- Employees can look forward to daily work that provides them with enjoyment and satisfaction.
From the study cited above, you know that millennial workers tend to focus upon having work that they feel good about and that allows them to progress in their careers. So, perhaps these two requirements usually get listed in the wrong order. When your people know that they can spend at least some of their time on work that satisfies them, they’ll be more likely to put up with some of the less-satisfying tasks that you still expect and need them to attend to. It’s up to you to communicate how completing forms, attending meetings, and other aspects of functioning in a bureaucracy still support the department’s mission and can teach them vital skills.
2. Develop Expectations Together
Some managers describe their jobs as similar to parenting or babysitting. This rather condescending attitude won’t help develop the next generation of leaders. Even though you may hire young adults who have little experience outside of school or their parents’ homes, it’s time for you to let your employees know that you value them as adults.
As adults working together, you can set high expectations for the work that needs to be completed. Certainly, you will have to offer them any guidance and training they need to succeed. At the same time, you might give them more latitude to decide exactly how they will accomplish their tasks. When possible, you should try to allow them the freedom to help you improve upon the processes you use. If you collaborate to set and document expectations, you can improve teamwork, a general understanding of employee expectations, and employee engagement.
3. Lead by Example
By leading your millennial workers by your own example, you can truly begin to enjoy the benefits of this generation’s more progressive attitudes about work. Do you show up for work feeling as though you’re contributing to your department’s larger mission? Do you always know what your own bosses expect out of you?
You also have a life and a career, and perhaps, you can learn from young people that it’s time for you to take charge of your own career. Maybe you have days when you feel as if you’re just a tiny stone on the beach. At the same time, you’ve got to throw a stone to get the pond to ripple sometimes.
How to Exceed Your Federal Employees’ Expectations
Millennials often express both idealistic and sensible career goals. Public sector jobs have a lot to offer employees for both of these kinds of expectations. For instance, NASA CIO Renee Wynn and the deputy CIO of Homeland Security, Stephen Rice, said they stayed with their federal careers because they found opportunities to make real differences in the lives of the citizens that they served, according to a Federal Times interview. While some positions may not offer the pay equivalent to private sector jobs, they can offer the security and benefits that will help satisfy the more self-interested motivations of younger workers.
You already know that the federal government offers fertile ground to grow a meaningful career. At Starr Wright USA, we can help you enjoy the benefits from your public sector work even more. Our leadership consists of veteran federal and military employees, so we understand the public sector. You can contact our knowledgeable, friendly representatives today or even enroll in professional liability insurance and other benefits online.
Article sponsored by Starr Wright USA.
Starr Wright USA a marketing name for Starr Wright Insurance Agency, Inc. and its affiliate(s) is an insurance agency specializing in insurance solutions for federal employees and federal contractors. For more information, visit WrightUSA.com. Starr Wright USA is a division of Starr Insurance Companies, which is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc.