Managing Millennials

Millennials—generally those who were born from about the early 1980s through the mid to late 1990s—occupy more project management positions every day. Technology-savvy and often highly peer-oriented, Millennials bring a new outlook and fresh ideas to the art of project management. Harnessing the power of these professionals can significantly boost your Project Team’s efficiency, but, like any culture shift, it takes guidance and effort. Also check out (value-your-boomers) and (MANAGING A MULTI-GENERATIONAL TEAM)

Demonstrate strong leadership. Some Millennials have been in the workforce for years, while others are just entering. Begin new relationships by reinforcing good habits, offering targeted coaching, and providing thoughtful, regular feedback—it will help ease the transition for younger workers, while highlighting Millennials’ value to established professionals.

Make expectations clear. Because Millennials are resourceful, they often thrive in creative environments. That typically makes them great problem-solvers, but be sure to give them clear expectations—from getting to work on time to measuring when a task is complete. Mentors should be firm, fair, and good at giving praise when objectives are met.

Be open to new technologies. Millennials are generally eager to embrace the latest tech platforms, so keep an open mind when one of them brings a new tool to your attention. Work with team members to objectively evaluate the potential benefits and support requirements of new technologies, and implement those that will contribute to cost and/or labor efficiencies.

Provide structure. The use of communication tools such as instant messaging and texting is often a boon to highly collaborative teams, but it’s critical that you put some strong usage guidelines in place and be ready to enforce them. Content should remain professional (even though some extracurricular discussions will likely occur), and the security of confidential data must be maintained. Sharing within the team is typically appropriate—sending information outside the approved boundaries is not.

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