With the oldest millennials now 35 years old, this generation is entering the ranks of management — and, as with everything else they do, they’re shaking it up in a big way. Here are four ways millennial managers are different from their predecessors, according to a recent American Express study.
They’re purpose-driven. It’s not all about profit for millennials. Nearly seven out of 10 want to make a positive difference in the world, and expect the companies they work for to do the same. More than eight in 10 (81 percent) believe that to be truly successful, a business must have a purpose that resonates with people, and 78 percent want to work for a company that shares their values.
What it means at work: Millennial managers will be looking for people who share those values, too. Employees need to value the company’s larger purpose, not just getting a paycheck.
They’re focused on employee well-being. I don’t just mean employees’ physical health, but also their mental, emotional and financial health. Millennial managers want to give employees opportunities to improve their skills, help them achieve work-life harmony, and keep them happy at work. For example, 75 percent of millennials in the survey say a successful business needs to be flexible, rather than forcing employees to adhere to a rigid structure, and 74 percent believe a successful business should support employees outside of work. In addition, 39 percent say paying employees fairly is the top challenge in the workplace today.
What it means at work: Employees working for millennial managers will likely enjoy greater freedom in their jobs and a workplace that views them as people, not just employees.
They’ll invest in employees. Millennials are willing to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to employee training. Employee development (94 percent) is the number-one area where millennials say they would invest time and money as managers; 87 percent would also invest in executive education.
What it means at work: Employee development is a highly effective way to retain talented employees and boost employee satisfaction. This will help millennial managers keep their top people from jumping ship.
They define success differently. While millennials are eager for new challenges, they’re not about work for its own sake. When asked to define what success means to them personally, 62 percent of millennials say it’s enjoying their work, while 58 percent say it’s having good work/life balance. To achieve that balance and enjoy what they do, millennials are willing to make some sacrifices. Thirty-five percent say they would settle for less responsibility at work, 35 percent would lower their expectations for career advancement, and 30 percent would take a lower salary.
What it means at work: Keep millennial managers happy with meaningful work and job flexibility, and you’ll keep them on your team. But don’t expect them to be satisfied with a fancy title or hefty salary. If a managerial job interferes with their overall life goals, they won’t hesitate to step down to a more relaxed role.
Millennials are ready and eager to take on management roles. Seventy percent of millennials say having a C-level executive job appeals to them, compared to 63 percent of Generation X. However, they’re also very open to change. More than one-third predict the role of the CEO will no longer be relevant within the next 10 years — maybe because millennials are shaking things up.
Photo via Shutterstock