In today's workplace, employees are no longer satisfied with just earning a paycheck. They want their work to have meaning and purpose, and they look to their leaders to provide an environment that fosters growth, autonomy, and a sense of fulfillment. Millennials, who are increasingly taking on management roles, have a unique opportunity to drive positive change within their organizations and teams.
Today we will explore five key steps that millennial managers can take to create a positive and engaging work environment that benefits both the employee and the company.
Step 1: Be Transparent
Transparency is a cornerstone of trust and respect in any organization. When leaders are open and honest about the company's successes and challenges, it sends a message to employees that they are valued and trusted members of the team. This transparency can take many forms, such as regular town hall meetings, open-door policies, or company-wide updates on key performance indicators.
For example, at the software company, Buffer, transparency is a core value that is deeply ingrained in the company culture. The leadership team shares detailed financial reports, company goals, and even personal struggles with the entire team. This openness has created a sense of unity and shared purpose, fostering a strong team spirit and commitment to the company's mission.
Step 2: Trust People to Work from Anywhere
In today's digital age, it's no longer necessary for employees to be tethered to their desks. With the advancement of technology, remote work has become a viable option for many companies. By trusting employees to work from anywhere, millennial managers can demonstrate their confidence in their team members' abilities and foster a sense of autonomy.
The benefits of remote work are numerous, including increased productivity, reduced commute times, and improved work-life balance. Companies like GitLab, a software development company, have embraced remote work, allowing their team members to work from anywhere in the world. This flexibility has led to increased job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and a more diverse workforce.
Step 3: Emphasize Autonomy
Empowering employees to take ownership of their work is a key component of a positive work environment. When leaders give their team members the freedom to make decisions and solve problems on their own, it not only increases productivity but also fosters a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
At the consulting firm, Accenture, employees are encouraged to take ownership of their projects and are given the autonomy to make decisions and suggest solutions. This approach has led to increased job satisfaction and a more engaged workforce.
Step 4: Explain What Your Company is Doing for the Greater Good
Employees want to feel that their work is contributing to something bigger than themselves. Millennial managers can help their team members understand how their work fits into the company's larger mission and vision. This can be achieved by sharing stories of how the company's products or services are making a positive impact on society or the environment.
For example, at the outdoor apparel company, Patagonia, employees are proud to work for a company that is committed to environmental sustainability. The company's mission to reduce its carbon footprint and promote environmental responsibility resonates with its employees, who feel that their work is contributing to a greater good.
Step 5: Focus on the Whole Employee
Finally, millennial managers should focus on the whole employee, recognizing that work-life balance is essential for job satisfaction and well-being. By offering benefits like free therapy and counseling, additional time off, or employee fitness programs, leaders can demonstrate their commitment to their team members' well-being.
At the IT company, IBM, employees have access to a range of wellness programs, including mental health support, fitness classes, and healthy eating initiatives. This focus on employee well-being has led to increased job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and improved productivity.
Millennial managers have a unique opportunity to drive positive change in the workplace and create a culture that fosters growth, autonomy, and purpose. By implementing these five steps, leaders can create a work environment that benefits both the employee and the company, leading to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. As millennials continue to move into management roles, it's important that they prioritize these strategies to create a workplace that is not only fulfilling but also sustainable for the long-term. By doing so, they can set an example for future generations of leaders and create a better future for work.
Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.