Managing retail employees can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it does come with its own challenges. For example, inter-generational conflicts can arise from different management styles. Millennials were the first generation to grow up with digital technology, and members of the generation often feel exasperated when their managers don't understand technology. Likewise, Gen Xers and baby boomers can feel as if their years of experience are being ignored by younger generations.
It's important to remember that millennials are not one homogeneous group. Though the youngest millennials turned 22 in 2018, the oldest millennials are almost 40 years old and have a lot of experience to bring to the table. Consider the following tips as guidelines for working with and managing millennials, not hard rules.
1. Provide structure, encourage ownership
According to The Balance, millennial workers tend to appreciate structure in the workplace. For instance, when you have a team meeting, consider printing out an agenda prior to the meeting itself to give everyone time to mentally prepare. A rambling meeting without structure is likely to leave many workers with blank expressions.
A little structure goes a long way with millennials. Set boundaries, then let your workers explore the possibilities within. Take the the time to listen to their feedback and really consider it – you may find that your employees have ideas for improving the business that they are eager to share.
2. Offer learning opportunities
Millennials don't like stagnating and they won't hesitate to jump ship if another business is able to provide a better opportunity or work experience. In fact, Forbes contributor Jeanne Meister reported that many millennials only stay at one job for a year or two at a time.
By offering your employees ways to learn and grow within your business, you may encourage them to stick around longer. Be open about opportunities for advancement and provide a clear outline for how employees can move into a position with more responsibilities.
3. Show your appreciation
For many millennials, it's not always about the money. Millennials want to feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment at work. They want their unique contributions to be valued by the business.
Take some time to say thank you to your top-performing employees. Sometimes a handwritten note expressing your gratitude can go a long way. Other incentives like an employee of the month reward system can recognize when individuals go above and beyond the call of duty.
4. Communicate openly
As millennials grew up, new ways of communicating with one another exploded onto the market. From instant messaging applications to smartphones, millennials are comfortable with many forms of communication. The text message specifically created a paradigm where individuals can communicate asynchronously – which allows everyone to respond in their own time.
Try using several methods of communication to see which are most effective for your business. A shop with only a handful of employees may be able to use a group text service to communicate, but a larger operation may need a more sophisticated solution.
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