7 Tips for Managing Millennial Workers

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7 Tips for Managing Millennial Workers

cheerful little girl drawing with mother

By 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. Born roughly between 1980 and 2000, members of this tech-savvy generation are different from their parents in many ways, especially when it comes to work.

While their boomer parents “live to work,” millennials decidedly “work to live.” It doesn’t mean they’re lazy or entitled—a common misconception that has stubbornly persisted for years. Rather, millennials want to work differently than their parents.

Whether you manage a large estate with a sizeable staff or you’re a working parent who needs to find a nanny, odds are you’ll hire a millennial at some point (if you don’t already have one on staff). Here are some tips for managing millennial workers.

1: Provide frequent feedback.

The traditional annual performance review is obsolete when dealing with millennial employees, a group accustomed to getting answers and information in an instant. The one-way conversational structure of this kind of performance review is a turn-off for millennials—they want dialogue, not passive feedback. Millennials came of age in a time of economic uncertainty, so frequent discussions about performance helps them feel more secure—and secure employees are more likely to do great work and less likely to leave.

nanny playing with the girl and baby on the couch

2: Be prepared to explain why.

Millennials love to ask ‘why?’ Their boomer parents raised them to be inquisitive and express their opinions, which means they need context to understand why they’re doing something. Ultimately, they want to do good work and get things right. But they need information to do it.

3: Don’t assume money is everything.

Money matters, but it doesn’t have quite the same pull for millennials. This is not to suggest that decent wages and cost of living increases aren’t important—they are. But you’re just as likely to score points with millennial employees with flexible hours (where possible) or even just by accommodating their need for work-life balance.

4: Resist micromanaging.

Millennials crave feedback and guidance, but they also value autonomy. No one likes to be micromanaged, and especially not this group. They’re accustomed to finding answers on their own and working independently. Micromanaging—whether by hovering, sending constant texts or emails, or trying to control every aspect of their day-to-day work—creates a toxic work environment that will quickly drive a good employee out.

a working hand work on a laptop computer

5: Use their tech-savviness to your advantage.

Millennials shine in the technology arena (and can teach many of us a thing or two). Even the oldest members of this generation were using PCs by their late teens. You’d be hard pressed to find a millennial who can’t navigate social media and the internet like a pro. But millennials also grew up using software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and web design programs. Take advantage of their tech know-how.

6: Put on your mentor cap.

Millennials grew up with more lax and permissive parents than previous generations. It’s why they don’t respond well to rigid structures and hierarchies. They want a mentor, not a boss. To have a productive relationship with millennial workers, it’s best to be approachable and encouraging while offering guidance. Aggressive displays of authority aren’t likely to be well-received.

7: Create opportunities for growth.

Perks like extended lunches and flexible work hours will only get you so far. More than other generations, millennials expect to advance in their roles quickly. They’re also strongly driven by a desire to make a positive difference in the world. Opportunities for growth and advancement may be limited in household settings, but where possible (e.g., estate management) make those opportunities available.

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