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On the fine line between caring for millennials and coddling them

Culture secret 11In our ongoing quest to ensure high levels of employee retention and productivity across the board in the workplace, we often encounter a problem. Quite simply, it’s that the same strategies don’t work on everyone. You might have a certain approach you use for engaging and motivating older employees, but it doesn’t have the same effect with younger individuals. It can be tough to balance the two.

Nowadays, a lot of the talk in HR centers around millennials and how to manage them. It’s been well publicized that individuals born after 1980 now account for a majority of the workforce, and as such, industry leaders are talking constantly about how to manage them. But Gen X-ers and baby boomers remain in the workplace as well – and in fact, many of them are in prominent leadership positions where it’s important to get the best possible work out of them.

How do we balance the two? What can we do to empower millennials to reach new levels of success while also not alienating the older employees who remain important? Ultimately, what strategies will keep both factions equally productive?

Managing millennials without coddling
Younger employees who are just getting their start in the workplace need a little bit of extra attention if they’re going to find their bearings, according to Talent Culture. But Jonathan Segal, managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute, also told the news source that there’s a fine line between caring for millennials and coddling them. It’s important not to cross that line.

“We need to care about millennials so that they genuinely feel valued and are productive and entrepreneurial as a result,” Segal explained. “But we need to be careful not to allow caring to slip into coddling. When we coddle, we unconsciously satisfy our needs, but we rob millennials of the opportunity to grow. And, in doing so, we limit the growth potential of our organizations.”

Coddled employees don’t have as much motivation to learn and improve as they otherwise might. If employers push millennials harder rather than let them coast, they might see better results.

A balanced approach to employee engagement
What your human capital management strategy really needs is balance. You should devote some time and energy to developing younger employees, but you don’t want to emphasize that angle too much. You don’t want to mismanage your younger people or neglect your older ones.

“The message is not that we should care less about millennials,” Segal advised. “The message is that we should apply a more calibrated and balanced approach. We need to listen to millennials’ concerns. But we also need to make clear to them what we expect from them.”

The best workplaces are those in which everyone is given a fair chance to succeed, young and old alike. Spend some time with your younger employees, helping them learn the ropes and climb the corporate ladder, but also remember the importance of the older, more seasoned professionals among your ranks. Both are key pieces of the overall puzzle.

Stay tuned for Ceridian’s 5th Annual Pulse of Talent Survey for advice on creating a culture that supports employees of all generations.

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