By Alexandra Rynkiewicz

The work environment is constantly changing and evolving in our society and employers must find ways to alleviate stress caused by transitions, changes, and updates to a variety of systems in the workplace. One of the biggest changes occurring now is the Millennial generation growing up. The Millennials make up the generation of 18-35 years old who, in general, are completing their education and entering the workforce. One major concern of employers is how to smoothly and effectively blend together this new and relatively inexperienced generation with the older employees, made up by Generation X and Baby Boomers.

Germanna Community College invited Brian Reese, owner of The Millennial Business Coach from Austin, Texas, to speak to business owners and managers about Millennials in the workplace. Mr. Reese is a specialist in speaking with businesses and communities about recruitment and retention of younger generations. He first discussed the differences in goals, work ethics, and lifestyles that are different between the different generations in the workforce. He especially focused on differing communication styles, noting how the majority of communication does not come from your words, but from tone and body language. Without understanding the types of communication styles within the workplace, it can be stressful for employers to overcome miscommunications and difficulties that arise between employees of different generations.

One communication style that Mr. Reese explained was the Coach Approach, where managers can develop a Millennial employee through coaching rather than simply managing. Through this style, managers can teach and develop employees rather than expecting them to understand or think the way that earlier generations have done. The Coach Approach leads Millennials to greater develop their knowledge of the job and their understanding of work as they are being encouraged and taught how to develop these skills by their “coach” in the workplace. Another important part of this communication style is to provide feedback; even simple feedback is meaningful.

George Hughes, president of SimVentions, spoke at this event about how he and his company are welcoming Millennials into their workplace. He described the types of things that his Millennial employees find important to them, such as making a difference in their company, their voice being heard in the workplace, flexibility, and how their work can improve themselves. They created a social program for young professionals within the company to meet and discuss work to help develop the culture.

As Millennials are starting to apply for jobs and increasingly occupy the workforce, it is important for employers to understand the generation that is coming up. If successful, there is an alignment of two, three, or even sometimes four different generations who can blend ideas, communication strategies, and perspectives with each other. This all leads to a broader scope of potential new work and a more dynamic company culture. Here at Susan Carol Creative we are welcoming Millennials and we are always on the cusp of learning dynamic new ways to serve our clients and communicate effectively. Our Millennials appreciate this and so do we.

(This blog is, in part, a report on a session held in November at Germanna Community College in which associate, Alexandra Rynkiewicz, took part. )