Millennials in the workplace face interesting challenges that are unique to them specifically. This is largely due to the fact that they’re coming-of-age in the sense of finally reaching substantial places in their careers. What’s more, is, there’s a lot that employers don’t understand about millennials. When hiring, employers often think about some contributing factors to having millennial managers. This is interesting to examine as the hiring process is analyzed. Many that are hiring millennial managers have preconceived notions about how this generation operates. While this works in theory, considering the fact that behavioral patterns between people that are in the same age group can be similar, it also has its downfalls. It’s hard to narrow down such a large group of people based on loose generalizations.
When you think about the pros and cons of having millennials as managers, it’s really important to remember that this generation will be leading business soon. Before we know it, they’ll be thinking about the pros and cons of hiring gen z managers.
So, where do we start? How do we fairly assess the pros and cons of hiring a large generation into management positions?
A Pro and A Con: Their age
Since millennials are so young, one could see that as a downfall. At first glance, it could seem like a 20-to-30-something may lack experience due to their age. For management positions, it’s usually easier to hire someone with more experience. They’re seen as less of a liability because they’ve had training that only can be earned while working in their position.
This can also manifest in differing values. Generational gaps are very real. They aren’t just present in social situations, either. When your office is comprised mainly of older employees, it may become difficult for them to take young management seriously. The pep in their step may seem frivolous to more stubborn employees.
However, age can also be an asset. Since they’re newer to the workforce, they can offer a fresh perspective. That’s not to say every millennial wears rose-colored glasses at all times, of course. But, their sense of optimism is a valuable addition to the workplace. If things are feeling stale at the office, hiring a younger manager may just be what you need.
A lot of millennials understand the importance of energy shifts in a room. When something feels off, they’re the first to work to change it. This can be incredibly beneficial for your office’s environment. A newfound sense of motivation can increase productivity.
A Pro: Their standards are very high.
Millennials have standards that are almost famously high. They have expectations for how their life is going to go and they do not cut corners to get there. Their attitude towards their own expectations transfers to the workplace.
When millennials are managers, they hold their staff to a massively high standard. If anyone isn’t pulling their weight, it won’t be easily excused. They’ll make sure your ship is run smoothly and efficiently with their headstrong mindset.
A Con: They can appear to be entitled.
This almost pairs with their high standards. Sometimes, positive character traits can combine with pitfalls. This is one of those instances. High standards can align with a sense of entitlement. Occasionally, this is only perceived by those who don’t quite get it.
However, being the new sheriff in town really can come with a sense of entitlement that is a massive turnoff in the professional world. Millennials have been raised in a world where things come instantaneously. If they upload a clip to TikTok, it has the potential to go viral within a matter of minutes.
Access to immediate fame is great and can open doors for a lot of people. But, if this concept transfers over to every career path someone attempts, it can be disappointing. Not everything is going to appear on a silver platter. And, it seems like most of the professionals in this generation are aware of this. But, being cautious about a younger sense of entitlement wouldn’t be a harmful business practice.
A pro: They often understand technology and branding.
Technology and branding go hand in hand. For promotional purposes, an exceptional knowledge of how to work social media can increase sales in new ways. The way millennials know how to reach new audiences can impact businesses of all shapes and sizes. This is largely because they truly know how to work on technological aspects of things.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all gifted computer-wizzes. Not everybody that you hire to a management team is going to also be able to develop the next Google or Tinder. But, if you give them the password to your brand’s social media account, they may be able to make some magic.
Incorporating a cohesive brand story through social media pages can be a daunting task. It’s hard to see where to start. Millennials often know just the right tone to use with an audience that’s playful, helpful, and not condescending. Many millennials are currently being hired to manage social media accounts for big brands (restaurant chains like Wendy’s, Taco Bell, etc. on Twitter, for example). This method has changed the way consumers view these brands.
A Con: There hasn’t been a lot of trusts built up… yet.
This generational issue could probably be said about every new frontrunner. As we age, new generations will take over. That’s just how the clichéd circle of life operates. You can either adapt to the change or get lost in its waves.
Where this can be seen as a hindrance, though, is within the workplace. Employers rely heavily on trusting their management teams. This can become blurred when young management enters your space. How can you trust them if they don’t have the experience to back themselves up?
That leads us, once again, to the age-old concept of needing to gain experience for a particular job. How do you gain experience without having it first?
Many millennials have some very valid complaints about job postings and how they’re advertised. They worry that since many jobs require 2 years of experience that they’re out of luck, even with a four-year degree. Entry-level job postings are disheartening for newcomers.
So, here we really cannot put all the blame on millennials. If we want to build up a great team, we may need to take some risks. That may include hiring someone with less experience and hoping they make it up in their work ethic.
A Pro: They’re culturally well-versed.
No one understands today’s current climate better than millennials. One perk of social media is that it almost introduces you to the whole world all at once. This can also be seen as a negative if looked at in a different light. However, it’s important to note that being so vividly aware of social issues is great for brands.
The last thing your brand needs is a pr nightmare. You may think it’s easily avoidable. But, there have been some recent pr nightmares that could have been avoided… but weren’t.
For most brands, this manifests in the form of cultural blindness. Naturally, hiding a more diverse team is a good way to prevent this issue. Beyond that, hiring a younger management team could solve these problems before they arise.
Aside from social issues in that aspect, they know what sells. They’re aware of the latest trends and can easily tell you what’s “in.” From a sales standpoint, this is great for your business. Much like with their tone on social media, they know how to talk to people IRL, too.
A Con: They can appear to be disloyal.
You can’t entirely place this one on millennials, though. As we mentioned earlier, their standards are incredibly high. If you don’t meet or exceed them, they’ll find somewhere to work that does.
The current market for employment is highly saturated. People are creating million-dollar businesses from the comfort of their couch. So, why stay at a job that isn’t financially and spiritually satisfying?
If you want to try out hiring younger managers, don’t be afraid that they’ll just walk out without a two weeks notice. Usually, you’ll be able to notice the signs of an unhappy manager pretty easily. Hearing out their needs instead of writing them off is the best way to keep your staff for the long haul, no matter their age.
A Pro: They’re incredibly flexible and honest.
Sometimes, people can be stuck in their ways when it comes to how they get their work done. This is especially prevalent in older generations. It’s not always impossible to teach an old dog new tricks, but it can be a little trickier to expose them to a new way of doing things.
Millennials, however, are different. They actively encourage change in the workplace and usually agree that sticking to the same routine hurts productivity instead of helping it. They’ll bring a fresh set of ideas to the table and they’ll be more willing to listen to you when you have your own.
This flexibility also may work within schedule. If you operate with less-traditional business hours, millennial managers may be more accommodating. Many are still in college, and one benefit to this is that their schedules are a little more open. Others have degrees but not a growing family. Either way, their open schedules can be beneficial for your business as you consider adding people to your team.
The pace that businesses operate is changing. The 9-5 approach is not ever going to become obsolete, but it’s far less common. Hiring younger people with a fresh perspective on how a workday should look can bring something new and exciting to your business.
Additionally, their honesty will hold you accountable. They’re not afraid to tell you when something is wrong. When you need constructive feedback, these young managers will be your go-to. They’ll be honest without completely breaking your heart, though.
This is largely due to the world of social media that they’re constantly exposed to. They’re involved in a space where feedback is instantaneous. Many millennials have probably been on the receiving end of some unwarranted criticism. With that being said, they have mastered the talent of being constructive without being destructive.
Honesty is also a helpful trait from a manager’s perspective. They won’t beat around the bush when they have to tell employees like it is. When employee reviews have to be given, they’ll provide honest criticism that will drive your team forward.
A Pro: They’re natural collaborators.
Adding to this, millennials work amazingly well in teams. Their collaborative skills combine effortlessly with their creativity. They’ll be able to problem-solve together and individually while holding the integrity of your business. It’s really important in today’s climate to understand the impact of collaboration.
This can include collaborating with other brands or simply implementing it into your current workplace. When you collaborate with like-minded brands, you’re able to reach a new audience and range of customers. Millennial managers are networking pros. They can identify these brands naturally and find a way to seamlessly combine the two in ways that can help either party.
Within the office or storefront, they can create the best teams to tackle a project. They have an eye for picking people who can work well together. Personalities in the workplace often clash, but they’re able to avoid these issues.
When the right groups are working together, productivity is accelerated tenfold. It’s much more effective to complete big projects in a group than trying to get it done individually. A strong sense of collaboration is crucial in business.
A Final Pro: They’re very optimistic and driven.
It’s safe to say that millennials may be the generation that has been criticized the most. While older generations are blaming them for killing the economy with their avocado toast, they are working hard to achieve their goals.
This drive is almost motivated by that criticism. That’s not to say their drive is entirely out of spite. If anything, they want to prove their worth to themselves as they step into the leadership shoes. When you hire a millennial manager, they’re driven to push your business to a higher level.
Almost all of the pros listed above culminate into this optimistic drive. They’re also trying to prove their worth in the workplace. What they lack in experience, they make up for in drive. This tenacity allows them to get things done quickly. As managers, this is effective because they can lead large teams with ease since they’re natural motivators.
There are definitely more pros than cons.
When it comes to hiring millennials as managers, there are definitely more benefits than setbacks. It can seem intimidating to look at a large, new group and put them in charge of operating your business. But, when you begin to open your mind to the idea, you’re opening your business up to a new kind of growth.
If things are feeling stale in your workplace, you may just need a new, millennial manager. Their optimistic and honest approach to business is setting them up to be the next generation of leaders.