“Hey Noah, I can’t seem to get the millennial in my office to come in on the weekends…the seniors are in. Any advice?
Every generation thinks the next generation is incapable, lazy, unprepared, and unmotivated. There are probably another 100 negative adjectives I could add to that list, too. And, guess what? Somehow the world keeps on keeping on. Somehow the next generation figures it out. And when millennials run the world one day, they’ll be complaining about generation Z (aka iGeneration).
So, what I’m saying is this isn’t a new thing. This isn’t something that’s unique to millennials. This is a thing that’s been a thing since the beginning of time. (Note: generation “experts” will argue with me here, and tell me that there are unique nuances about millennials that the world has never seen before – and I don’t disagree. I’m just saying that this isn’t anywhere near the first time one generation has held negative feelings and misconceptions about the next generation.)
Knowing this, you’re best to approach the millennial in your office as an actual person, not as a member of a generation. Take them under your wing. Show them the ropes. Answer the “what’s in it for me?” question when asking them to do extra work or put in extra hours. Help them to understand the why behind the what. And, as always, don’t tell them what to do…show them how it’s done.
I’m challenging you to take personal accountability and responsibility for getting your message through to younger people in your office. You have to figure out how to communicate on their level, in their language, and on their terms – meaning sometimes it’s better to text them than it is to talk to them face to face. Or sometimes you text them while they’re in the same room as you, sitting at the same table as you. Hey man, whatever works, right?
To get more specific, I’d recommend sitting down with this millennial of yours and explaining the benefits of working on the weekends. Share your personal experiences with them. Tell them about the time you landed a big account on a Sunday, or how you saved the world on a Saturday. Meet them for breakfast or lunch on a weekend. Take them to a meeting with you. Hold their hand a bit (virtually, of course).
Do what you can to make young people feel important by ensuring they understand that they are part of the team that makes your company a success. It’s not a job; it’s a career. You get out what you put in. Help them to grasp the reality that work/life balance is a great concept…once you’ve already made enough money to enjoy it.
That’s my take. That’s my approach. It’s not the only answer, but it’s worked for me. I bet it will work for you, too.
Hey millennials, care to jump in here? What would motivate you to work on the weekends? What would you like to see employers and business leaders do to engage you in a way that makes you want to give your all?