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How to hire, manage and even appreciate millennial IT workers

Rich Hein | Nov. 21, 2012
A recent survey reveals that hiring managers are far more likely to hire IT pros from Generation-X or baby-boomers than they are to hire from the millennial generation. Find out what's behind this trend and why you have to learn to stop worrying and love millennials.

According to Rikleen, one of the themes revealed in the Rikleen Institute's research on Generation-Y workers is that they have been far more heavily parented than other generations and this has had a significant impact on how they operate in the workplace. Social media has also made it possible for this generation to collaborate, communicate and share in real-time, making things like annual reviews seem out of touch.

Entice and Retain Millennials Because You Have No Choice

"Regardless of whether you think they [millennials] are flawed or not, eventually you will run out of [IT workers from] other generations. Companies are going to have to get better at managing individuals with these generational characteristics, "Rikleen says. She also notes that some of the common perceived flaws aren't necessarily what she considers flaws.

For example, millennials do require more feedback than other generations, but is this a bad thing? Millennials have grown up in a world with a lot of feedback, according to Rikleen, so it's a little shocking to them when they get into the workplace and don't get much feedback at all. Some may be getting only an annual or bi-annual review.

Ultimately, Rikleen points out, "People who get more feedback are going to get better at what they are doing because they will learn faster." Managers should give feedback on a more regular basis. Everyone will benefit, according to Rikleen.

As for being job-hoppers, Rikleen explains, that often times this can be attributed to the lack of feedback and no clear path for advancement. Companies that provide regular feedback, training and development as well as some sort of clear career mapping will do well with millennials--and all generations for that matter.

Implement or at least consider a more flexible work policy. According to recent BLS stats, employees who work remotely work on average an hour longer each day. In that same report, the BLS also stated, "an increasing number of jobs in the American economy could be performed at home if employers were willing to allow employees to do so."

Rikleen offers a couple of other suggestions for reducing the friction between the generations. One involves training that educates employees on the differences in thinking between the generations.

The other idea is a reverse mentoring program where you use the talents of millennials to work with individuals who have business experience but aren't necessarily deft at using technology like social media.

Advice to Millennials Looking for IT Jobs

According to the survey by Adecco, the number one mistake made by job-seeking millennials is wearing inappropriate interview attire. Clearly, this is an easy fix with a little advance consideration. "Be aware. Work to combat negative perceptions and play up your strengths," says Fitting.


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