How to Manage Millennials


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Dr. Leemann faculty at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine has published an article in "Industrial Safety & Hygiene News" June 2012 on effective managment strategies geared toward millennials in the Environmental Health and Safety professions.

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How to Manage Millennials

  1. 1. systems THINKINGHow to manage Millennials By James E. Leemann,The most highly praised & coached generation comes to work Ph.D.T he workplace is beginning to experience the blending of Upsides and down- Millennials with Boomers. sides Who are these Millennials? There are upsides and According to the Pew Research Center, downsides of this hypercon-Millennials are those individuals born nected world Millennialsbetween 1981 and 2000 and are coming thrive in, according to aof age in the new millennium. They are recent Pew Research Centerthe most ethnically and racially diverse study.2 Some of the upsidescohort of youth in the nation’s history. from a safety perspectiveCurrently, they are the most politically include: 1) solving safetyprogressive (i.e., liberal) age group. They problems through cooperativeare the first generation in human history work (crowd-sourcing solu-to consider tweeting, instant messaging, tions); 2) searching for safetyFacebook, Google, YouTube, Groupon, information online, discern-and Wikipedia as everyday extensions of ing the quality and veracitytheir social lives. They are the least reli- of the information, and com-giously observant since surveying such and outside the organization. municating effectively (digital literacy);behavior began with youths. They are Online video games offer an excellent 3) synthesizing safety information frommore inclined to trust institutions than venue for safety training tailored to the inside and outside the corporation; 4)were their predecessors.1 specific work environment the Millennial thinking of the future strategically instead encounters. For the past three years, I of tactically; 5) concentrating on safetyA different tribe have used two online safety games as solutions; and 6) distinguishing between Millennials are significantly different the final exam for my course at Tulane’s “noise” and the safety message in thethan their predecessors, namely Baby Center for Applied Environmental Public ever-growing sea of information.Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) Health. The safety games challenge what Dr. Jean Twenge provides downsideand Generation X-ers (born between the student has learned through applica- insight into the Generation Me (GenMe),1965 and 1980). I think these differ- tion as opposed to what they have memo- her term for Millennials.3 Downsidesences are going to matter big time. As rized. Because Millennials learn through from a safety perspective include: 1) disre-Millennial hiring increases, organizations collaborative, trial and error methods, spect authority entirely; 2) an overwhelm-and safety professionals are going to I believe online games will become the ing emphasis on self-esteem (an outcome,have to realign their approaches to safety means used to make decisions concerning not a cause) which builds into narcissisminitiatives, education, and training. risk-taking through scenario game play. making for difficult relationships; 3) a Probably the most noticeable differ- Millennials also have an affinity lack of marketable skills and knowledgeence is Millennial’s mastering of elec- toward social networking. Facebook is when seeking a full-time career in safetytronic devices — cell phones, tablets, the medium Millennials use to stay in due to the belief adulthood starts at 30;computers, video games, etc. Rather touch and up-to-date with their network 4) more widespread feelings of beingthan view these devices as distractions, of friends. Safety professionals need to alone, anxious, stressed, and depressed assafety professionals need to capitalize consider establishing Facebook pages exhibited in suicide being the third leadingon the access they provide to the worker for each of their employees devoted to cause of death among 15 to 24 year oldsthrough real time applications for proce- sharing what is going on in their work raises at-work behavior concerns involv-dures, standards, performance metrics, and personal lives. What went right, what ing safety; and 5) lack of a sense of per-investigations, feedback, and collabora- went wrong? Don’t mock the media; use sonal responsibility and tendency to blametion with fellow Millennials, both inside it to your advantage. others for their problems; think about
  2. 2. these characteristics when conducting an Listening – Many Millennials James E. Leemann, Ph.D., isincident investigation. had doting parents. Millennials have clinical assistant professor in Tulane ideas and opinions they are not afraid University’s Center for AppliedRestlessness to express and they don’t like being Environmental Public Health, and is Jim Finkelstein with Mary Gavin in ignored. Seek their input on safety and president of the Leemann Group LLC,their book “Fuse” report 80 percent of listen. Scottsdale, AZ. For more informationMillennials dislike their jobs and the Praising – Millennials received visit or emailaverage Millennial will have 8.6 jobs constant praise from their Boomer par- ages 18 and 32.4 So, how should ents. Incentivized safety programs willmanagers manage Millennials? align with their thirst for being praised 1 Taylor, P. and S. Keeter. Editors. 2010. Millennials are looking for a reason to frequently. Millennials – A Portrait of Generation Next. Pewbelieve in your company. For example, Mentoring – Millennials have Research Center. does your company do for soci- been coached their entire lives. Connect 2 J.Q. Anderson and L. Rainie. 2012. Millennialsety beyond providing employment? a mentor to each Millennial before they will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnectedCompanies need to make a “blatant start work. lives. Pew Research Center’s Internet & Americanappeal to Millennials’ narcissistic streak” Multi-tasking– Millennials Life Project. www.pewinternet.orgbecause they will not settle for any old are excellent multi-taskers, so don’t 3 M. Twenge. 2007. Generation Me: Whyjob.5 Since their narcissism is about self- hesitate to assign multiple projects to a Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident,importance, focus your safety message Millennial. Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Everat a personal level as opposed to some Teaming – Millennials flourish Before. Free Press. New York, NY.generic one-size-fits-all safety campaign. in a team setting, solving problems col- 4 Finkelstein, J. with M. Gavin. 2012. Fuse laboratively. Challenge your Millennial – Making Sense of the New CogenerationalTips for managing teams. Workplace. Greenleaf Book Group Press. Austin, The Internet is replete with articles on Messaging – Millennials are for managing Millennials.6,7 Here the most tech-savvy generation in history. 5 Ibid. p. 33.are several that could make a difference Use and develop apps that suit the needs 6 Heathfield, S.H. 2012. 11 Tips for Managingin promoting your safety message and of the business and your safety manage- Millennials. At your new millennial hires. ment system. od/managementtips/a/millenials.htm Learning – Millennials have been When all is said and done, the greatest 7 Klass, T. and J. Lindenberger. February 23,raised to believe education is the path to suc- challenge management will have with 2011. Advice for Managing Millennials. At http://cess. Use collaborative approaches to learning, Millennials will be in persuading them to incorporate graphically stimulating mate- stay with the company long-term. advice-for-managing-millennials/rial into your training (e.g., video games). Reprinted from Industrial Safety & Hygiene News June 2012 ©2012 Industrial Safety & Hygiene News