October 24, 2016 by Noël Cantin

Make the most of millennial employees

As millennials have become a large part of the workforce, those of us in leadership positions are discovering new management strategies. For both succession planning and to create a work culture that keeps younger talent engaged, here are four key ways to ensure your millennial employees are ready for the future.

1. Make yourself approachable

This is not just about taking the time to meet with employees, but creating a positive atmosphere that makes them feel they can approach you as a mentor – as well as a manager. A key element to approachability is being able to have open and constructive dialogue when perspectives differ. At my office, we work to make sure that staff is comfortable sitting with us and talking about their concerns. If your employees are afraid to ask questions or speak their minds, you will be deprived of their valuable perspectives and they won’t feel they have a voice.

2. The benefit of high expectations

When you establish high expectations for young employees, they embrace challenge and the opportunity to grow. Even if there is a significant age difference, impress upon them that they are just as valued members of the team as you and other senior employees. This will result in them both taking responsibility for their role in order to meet high expectations, while also making them feel like they are part of an open, professional culture that encourages growth.

3. Give them tasks they enjoy

For leaders, one of the most overlooked skills to develop is the ability to identify tasks that your employees most enjoy. At our firm, we try to have formal meetings with staff members on a regular basis. This is a valuable opportunity to ask them exactly what they think about their job and what they most like to focus on professionally. Because for many employees, the tasks they like doing the most also often represent their strengths.

4. Love them or lose them

Even employees with little power or influence have at least one solution available when they are unhappy: they can leave. When I talk to professionals 30 and under, it’s clear they aren’t attached to their job in the way previous generations were. In other words, be sure to treat young employees with respect and provide them with both opportunities for growth and engagement – or they will go looking elsewhere.

Noël Cantin, CPA, CA, has a broad range of experience dealing with accounting, audit, general business and management matters for a diverse clientele. He oversees numerous recurring audits of financial statements, as well as special studies and projects related to acquisitions, financial planning, valuations and tax planning. Noël’s breakfast of champions includes a bowl of granola, a half-cup of blueberries or raspberries and a glass of orange juice.