Professional Development Blog
5 Ways to Millennial-Proof Your Agency

5 Ways to Millennial-Proof Your Agency

Originally Posted on GovLoop by Mallory Thayer.

Hi, my name is Mallory – and I’m a Millennial.

I know what you might be thinking: You’re one of those young whipper-snappers who grew up with the Internet, still lives with her parents and constantly posts narcissistic “selfies” on Facebook and Instagram. Wait ‘til you hit the real world, you Yuppie. 

That may not be an entirely false generalization of the segment of the population born between the early 1980s and 2000. But there is more to us Millennials than meets the critic’s eye.

We grew up with technology, which means we can handle rapid change and digitization. Google and online database searches are second nature. We learn quickly and often by experimentation.

On the other hand, our childhood was heavily supervised. We are accustomed to being monitored, tracked and in constant interaction with the world around us.

Most significantly, there are a lot of us – more than 80 million, approximately. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce.

While the number of Millennials is climbing, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are reaching retirement age. Members of these generations typically hold management and leadership roles in established organizations. These traditional sources of authority, however, won’t remain in the workforce for much longer.

What does this mean for your agency? Quite frankly, you will need Millennials to be managers.

It may be counterintuitive for some to place the youngest members of our nation’s workforce in positions of authority and influence, but just like preparing your home for a newborn baby, you need to Millennial-proof your agency.

The first step to Millennial-proofing your organization is to understand a Millennials’ unique needs and expectations. A UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School white paper identifies what Millennials want from their employers:

  • Coaching. Raised with constant contact and frequent feedback, Millennials expect the same from their managers.
  • Collaboration. Millennials are prone to interaction. Extend the “share” attribute found on social media sites into the workplace.
  • Measures. Clear structure and job assessments help Millennials understand their employers’ expectations.
  • Motivation. Millennials are driven by goals and the creation of valued work. Recognize their achievements and reward success.

How can your agency create an environment that meets Millennials’ needs and maximizes their potential? Experts from UNC recommend using technology to attract, develop and retain Millennials as critical assets in your organization.

There are countless ways to use technology to keep Millennials engaged. Here are five sure-fire tactics for Millennial-proofing your organization:

  1. Hook them with virtual tours. Millennials want to know what they’re getting themselves into when considering a potential employer. Offer online tours and employee testimonial videos to give them a 360-degree of what to expect from office life at your agency.
  2. Provide online training opportunities. Millennials like to feel equipped, but they also value convenience. E-learning and online training tutorials make acquiring skills as easy as watching the newest episode of “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix.
  3. Be flexible and consider teleworking or BYOD. The monotony of a 9-5 workday may not appeal to all Millennials. Teleworking is a growing trend in today’s digital age and may be a better fit. More so, the option of bring-your-own-device allows Millennials to tailor their work experience and foster individuality.
  4. Communicate clearly. It’s important to keep Millennials in the loop and ensure they understand what is expected of them. This can be accomplished by simply dropping a quick email, text or Google Chat message for frequent check-ins. Also consider a shared document (like a Google Doc) to track progress on projects or goals.
  5. Publicly post their achievements. Millennials crave recognition. Highlight a job well done internally through a company email announcement or externally on the organization’s website or social media pages. Millennials are more likely to produce high quality work if they know they feel valued.

Let’s face it: the appearance of the modern workforce is undergoing a youthful transformation. But Millennial-proofing your agency doesn’t mean spoon-feeding this younger generation of workers. It does, however, mean you need to be speaking the same language.

Technology is an ideal way to connect with Millennials, learn what makes them tick and tap into their wealth of potential. Is your agency is ready for this new generation of leaders?