A recent article from PINK shed some interesting light on a new management trend: Boomer women managing Millennial employees.
It reported that Boomer women are often frustrated that some Millennial employees miss deadlines, take a two-hour lunch and wear flip-flops to work. But if you think Millennials are lackadaisical and unprofessional, you may be the one with the issue.
BioJobBlogger also recently covered the topic saying that we Boomers like to think of ourselves as agents of change. While this may have been true in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it is no longer the case—once a group becomes the so-called establishment there is no impetus or inducement to change the status quo. As many Boomers have learned, change can be difficult and nobody really likes it!
“Young workers grew up in a digital culture distinguished by near-immediate sharing of information. They tend to be collaborative and team-oriented, even when they aren’t technology experts. They grew up multitasking and don’t see the sharp delineations between “work” and “leisure” that previous generations did. Millennials often prize freedom, innovation and speed over security and stability. They seek flexibility in work schedules and work locations.
Most of all, young workers take access to technology for granted — as a way to get information, keep track of friends, schedule activities and do their work. And, of course, this access has now gone mobile, via wireless connections and smartphones.
Newer technology also creates a more networked and less hierarchical workplace. Work is distributed across more people in more places, with virtual teams communicating more or less instantly.”
Not a bad set of characteristics and skill sets. If leveraged correctly, it may actually improve workplace efficiency, productivity and possibly reduce costs!
“It may be an organizational cue,” says Andrea Hershatter, associate dean and director of the BBA program Goizueta Business School at Emory University. “Boomers are notorious for procrastinating, then rushing to meet a deadline that turns out to be arbitrary. Millennials observe the folly and react accordingly.” To make work relationships successful, Hershatter advises being clear about ‘absolutes’ vs. what’s optional when it comes to everything from dress code to deadlines.
Millennials work best with clear guidelines and frequent supervisor interaction; so, a webpage or document outlining job expectations should help. It should include appropriate lunch, arrival and departure hours, workplace dress, etc. The good news? Second-year Millennial employees can guide operational processes and deadlines for a first-year employee. Best bet? Cross mentoring – where Boomers and Millennials exchange knowledge. Boomers can teach Millennials appropriate workplace interaction, the need for depth and context. Millennials can bring Boomers up to speed on technology and resources that enable efficient, effective and timely decision-making.
As a woman Boomer I can attest that the challenges of managing Millennials are far outweighed by the benefits. They are smart, energetic, tech-savvy, open to every new experience, unhindered by past failures and always “on”. It makes a refreshing change and keeps us Boomers on our toes and on top of our game!
“If you want happiness for a lifetime – help the next generation.” Chinese Proverb