Here’s a tangible toolbox to support the success of your millennial workforce. My bet is you know you have an opportunity right before you. And…
It’s time to rethink the stereotypes of the Millennial and younger workforce. If you’re having challenges in general with this age group as a workforce, the issues are likely more yours than theirs. Tough to swallow? We’ve found the gap in understanding true globally, not just in the U.S.
No doubt, Millennial challenges are real. At the same time, the challenges are not going away. There's bad news and good news here. The bad news is that traditional leadership and management habits need to shift, and must shift. The good news is that leadership and management habits get to shift, and must shift!
By now you’ve likely seen plenty of lists of what “the Millennial” wants. Worse, when you or I get stuck in old habits it's easy to translate the core Millennial want as, “money for nothin’, thank you very much," only without the, “thank you.”
Instead of a list, here are five actions to take in real time that can shift the performance of your workforce named Millennial (or younger). Each of the five actions stands on its own, and each builds on the others.
5 Actions for Supporting Success of Your Millennial Workforce1) Celebrate Passion
You’ve a great opportunity here! Take a few minutes, and remember why you got in this business in the first place. Share your passion for excellence. Share your passion for work well done. Instead of telling your staff about passion, MODEL it! We can’t demand passion either. What’s amazing about this generation is they’re all about living a life passionately! Use this age group of staff to re-kindle your passion and the passion of great food, great service, smiles and the fun of work well done!
Interview for passion! No passion, no job! No applicants with passion? Keep interviewing! Hiring right may be the ultimate role of leadership. Hiring right means finding and celebrating passion! You and I are likely not to be able to train passion. We can HIRE it; the trick in hiring passion? You and I have to define it for ourselves, then share our passion!
2) Provide Purpose, the WHY of Our Business
What do Millennials want? From experience and academic research, a sense of Purpose is the big drive for this age group. No interest here in a dead end job. No interest in a boring job. Give work meaning, done passionately, and you’ll find almost endless energy, uh, on Purpose!
What’s the big why of restaurants, regardless of concept? What is it we provide through our food, drink, service and décor? A good place to begin your search is the root definition of the word restaurant, “A place one goes to be restored” or the root of restaurateur, “Restorer of soul!” If you’re willing to go here, that is to your Purpose or big WHY, performance shows up from inspiration and intrinsic motivation. This is the good news. The not so easy news, the big WHY or Purpose needs to be defined. If you’ve got the courage, you can include your millennial team members in the dialogue to define your “Why.”3) Define Values and Use Them
Oddly we talk about values all the time in business and as a country. That said, values are typically used as a noun, “our Values,” rather than verbs.
Research and experience both scream out again that this generation loves the sense of being led by values. "Values as actions” modeling may be the most frustrating for the more traditional leader or manager. Back in the day, it was plenty easy to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Wake up folks; those days are GONE. Make no mistake, now more than ever, you and I as leaders and managers must walk our talk. This age group of workers then turns into a perfect mirror for you and me as leaders or managers. Inconsistency shows up; the stronger your millennial team members are, the faster they’ll quit.4) Define Excellence
What do Millennials want? Integrate steps one through three. And the most pragmatic action we can take to see radically high performance, actually regardless of age, Millennial included, is to define excellence in each position of your company. The kiss of death is to rely on common sense, because there is none. Define excellence in service, production, clean up, fiscal procedures and watch performance rise. Leave those definitions to training your staff somewhere else, and watch all hell break loose. A lack of definition allows loud critique, no common sense, meetings after meetings, and drama galore.
The guidepost here is whenever you use a word or phrase that “ought to be obvious,” be sure and define that word or phrase. Hints, watch out for: professional, clean, good attitude, work ethic, etc. If you feel like the Millennial doesn’t have it, they only will if and when you and I define “It!”5) Provide Autonomy
What’s the want? Autonomy! The good news about defining Purpose, Values, and Excellence, and celebrating each passionately is that now we can provide actual autonomy for our team!
There’s no doubt that hard work is due to define items one through four. With this definition, you now allow Millennials to begin leading themselves. This younger generation has been on their own in many ways for a longer time than any generation to date. At the same time, this autonomy hasn’t always been guided by excellence coaches or life choices. When the work's done, to define excellence on purpose, guided by values, done with passion…get out of the way. Now our work as leaders is to be guides instead of bosses, coaches instead of cops.