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Kaia Pankhurst

You’re Mismanaging Your Millennial Staff. Don’t Worry, Everyone Else is Too

It’s just a matter of creating the right environment, giving them guidance, then getting out of their way.





Full disclosure, I was born in 1992, so I may be biased. But I also work with and manage a team of Millennials.

In my experience, we are, more often than not, driven and growth-oriented workers. Traditional media likes to call us lazy and entitled, but in reality, we just have different values and priorities than the generations that came before us.

But just like previous generations, our bottom line can be leveraged to serve your bottom line. It’s all about finding the right management tools. So, what do Millennials need to succeed?

Room to Grow

The average Millennial expects to stay at a job for approximately two years. That has nothing to do with whether we like our work or we get along with our bosses. It’s really more a matter of wanting more from our careers than just a paycheck.

Millennials want to be challenged. If we don’t find our professional lives challenging or stimulating, we will look for stimulation elsewhere.

After working as a copywriter for two years at my current company, I knew my job inside and out. I’d written more pages about dry eye disease than I could’ve possibly counted. Had that been the end of my trajectory, I probably would’ve started looking for other opportunities. Instead, I was promoted to a position that uses my skills, but also requires me to develop new ones. My manager made sure there was somewhere for me to go because he knew if there wasn’t, I would go somewhere else.


Opportunities to Innovate

My sister is four years older than me. When she learned to type, she was taught to put two spaces between sentences. By the time I was in school, the standard had become one space.

Millennials are used to innovation. In fact, we have come to expect it. We need our managers to stay open to and aware of innovation opportunities. The Millennials on your staff want to save you time, money and energy. You just have to be willing to give it a try.

Company Culture

A lot of Millennials graduated or started working around the start of 2007’s recession. Add the burden of student loans, and I think it’s fair to say that we’re pretty anxious about financial stability. The prognosis for retirement isn’t looking great for most Millennials, and we know we’ll be working a long time. We’ve come to terms with that, as long as we don’t hate coming to work every day. That’s why we prioritize company culture. For Millennials, the workplace isn’t just somewhere to invest in our retirement plan; it’s somewhere to invest in our personal growth.

The Kids Are Alright (& Also Not Kids Anymore)

Despite our reputation for being entitled, Millennials have a lot to offer. We’re adults with degrees, families, and ambition. The Millennials on my team are the first to stay late and the last to complain.

When Millennials work for you, they really work for you. It’s just a matter of giving them guidance, then getting out of their way. Their work ethic and desire to make a difference will impress every time.


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