Leadership for millennials

Leadership for millennials

By Claudie Singh, Operations Manager at iClick Marketing

Being a leader in your organisation in 2020 means that you likely have to lead a team that consists of as many as five generations working alongside each other. Leading such a diverse workforce means you have to manage many different expectations while ensuring your business remains profitable. 

Studies estimate that about half the workforce this year consists of millennials and that by 2025 it will be 75 per cent. Which makes sense, considering that the official age range for millennials are anyone born from 1981 to 1996. Leaders need to understand what millennials are looking for in the workplace and know how to manage their expectations to lead effectively. They also need to recognise that millennials are not a single, homogenous trope.

Values are important

Harmful stereotypical characteristics used to describe millennials put aside, we should all acknowledge that this generation, which makes up the largest workforce since 2016, are driving the changes in how we work and communicate. They are value-driven and high-energy and organisations are having to find ways to keep them interested, motivated, and supported (in and out of the workplace). 

One of the ways managers are having to do this is by offering high quality, specific and actionable feedback, preferably given on-the-spot, to make it easier to course-correct and avoid uncomfortable performance reviews and “I didn’t see this coming” situations.  

Old-fashioned career ambitions led us to believe you had to do what it takes to get to the top, and your success was all that mattered. Now, millennials are taking a different approach to climbing the corporate ladder and prefer teamwork rather than a competitive environment. In an age where diversity is more than just a buzzword, millennials are embracing diversity in the form of gender, age, and race in their work teams.  The output of these decision-making task forces is proving more and more consistently productive.

Environment matters

Another trend in managing a dynamic workforce that has taken off globally, though arguably more so in more developed countries, is offering employees flexibility around working hours and location. While some will argue that it is not compatible with all industries, the movement towards measuring output vs hours is axiomatic. Since millennials have grown up with technology, they are finding more ways to work smarter and are thus far more efficient. This results in fewer hours needed to complete tasks, and more time to focus on their interests outside of the workplace. 

Remote working is also no longer the HR nightmare it used to be in the past. Virtual management has become a vital part of our world – people can now connect remotely and automate certain work functions to achieve efficiency. We can now work from any place at any time. Millennials notoriously embrace virtual channels for work because they are already so comfortable with instant communication – IMs, emails, DMs. Conducting coaching, feedback and project management through virtual channels is second nature to them. Of course, the key would be to successfully drown out the barrage of slack notifications and focus on the task at hand.

Personal interests take centre-stage

It is critical to remember that all employees are human beings rather than static resources, with active interests and goals. Paying attention to these interests could reap beneficial rewards for your business. Cross-training that is tailored to those traits like presentation skills, sales negotiating, and image training is one way of developing talents that benefit your company and the individual. 

According to a study by Udemy, “80% of employees surveyed agree that learning new skills at work would make them more interested and engaged in their jobs.”  It is evident that by offering learning opportunities, you are avoiding a disinterested employee, and it is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

iClick Marketing

As you can see, it is not impossible to manage the expectations of the more substantial part of your team. Whether you are a Baby Boomer or from Generation X, you need to be aware that your team demographics are shifting. And even if you are a Millennial leader, it is essential to understand the tendencies of your team for optimal success.

At iClick Marketing, we consistently challenge ourselves to create an environment that brings the best out of our team. This includes experiments around flexible hours, remote working and making regular training part of our business.

About Claudie Singh

Claudie Singh is the operations manager at iClick Marketing. With qualifications in human resources and marketing, she has extensive experience in HR having worked in the private sector, corporate, and agency environments for more than 10 years. She joined iClick Marketing seven years ago where her role has evolved to that of operations manager. Claudie is an avid reader who is intrigued by the human psyche. She is an aspiring foodie, a wine enthusiast, and a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady.

About iClick Marketing

iClick Marketing is a proudly certified Google Partner with a focus on consumer digital behaviour and how to optimise digital platforms to drive engagement with brands. Their clients include Tsogo Sun Hotels, Dis-Chem Pharmacies, Tsogo Sun Gaming, OneCart, and Toys R Us to mention a few.