Management 101 for Millennials and Gen Y

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Managing in today’s day and age, especially in a professional services organization, is not an easy feat. Challenges that were not present a few years back have emerged and are difficult to overcome because of: the realities of the market, the ever-changing demographics, and the speed at which technology evolves. The ever-increasing expectations of employees morph so fast that organizations find it difficult to adapt. And yet, we must.

The millennial cohort of workers is defined as being born between the 1980s and 1990s. They are sometimes referred to as the “echo boomers” given that they are often children of baby boomers.

What are some of the characteristics this generation brings to the table, and how do these traits influence the way they behave at work?

Following the millennial methodology of referring to Wikipedia for all the information, here are some of these traits: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving. These specific attributes bring a special dynamic and creativity to the workplace. However, some of these qualities make it challenging to keep this segment of bright individuals motivated, engaged and productive.

Play to their Strengths: Make teamwork a part of your culture

This generation grew up with an emphasis on teamwork to achieve a goal. From an early age, they have participated in team sports, and group projects, and have been tasked with working together. By having an organizational structure that promotes teamwork, leveraging the years of working as a team, employees can rely on each other and define roles and responsibilities based on their unique skills and qualities, thereby increasing overall efficiency and productivity.  

Embrace diversity and inclusion

With the spectrum of upbringings and heritage of millennials, it is no surprise that a diverse and inclusive workplace is of paramount importance to them. Having a diversified management team will help them feel at home, cared for, and valued. Additionally, it is not only important to be inclusive internally to the organization but to seek out diversity in clients and partners as well. This will bring new challenges and experiences to the table and create an exciting work environment.

Be results-oriented

The shift from a more rigid working schedule and strict processes to looser rules and flexible hours with a greater focus on results has been happening gradually and organically in the workplace in the last few years. Millennials prioritize results, and so an organization must adjust accordingly to accommodate them in the workplace but keeping them accountable to what they have promised to deliver.

Offer flexible working conditions

As mentioned in the previous point (be results oriented), millennials put emphasis on flexibility of work to achieve the desired results. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Working when they are most productive. That can be early or late in the day.
  • Working from a remote location for an extended period of time such as going to Italy for a few weeks and working from there
  • Working from home on a regular basis (without restrictions)
  • Unlimited vacations
  • Etc.

This allows them to be a lot more productive, as they are more likely to be motivated when they work around their own schedule and will, therefore, deliver the best results.

As they get older and take more leadership positions, millennials are going to have an even bigger impact on the workplace. Having said that, no generation remains in power forever, and the next disruption to take place will be generation z entering the workforce alongside baby boomers, generation x, and generation y (millennials). This will transform the workplace once again, for better or for worse, and those millennials in leadership positions will have to adapt to the influx of new entrants, similarly to when they, disrupted the workforce, themselves.


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