Over the years a lot has been learned about the way Millennials work. Like every generation, there are very positive characteristics that shape Millennials, as well as some less desirable characteristics. For a generation that is accustomed to multitasking and always being engaged somewhere other than where they physically are, it can be very difficult for a Millennial to focus on one solitary task at a time without chatting with friends or using a phone. The constant need for connection makes Millennials adept for teamwork, but solitary tasks - such as being on duty on a lifeguard stand - can be challenging for such a social generation. Equally challenging is the task managers face on how to train staff to maintain focus during a solitary job such as lifeguarding.
Tina Kessler, a manager from the Bath & Racquet Club in Sarasota, FL, reported in SAI’s weekly Client Connection discussion that her method for helping employees stay on task while on duty is to not only do frequent walkabouts to evaluate employee performance, but to also engage employees about why they may not be performing to standard. The time Kessler spends with employees to determine what is hindering them from performing their best is valuable to Millennials. Instead of simply reminding her staff what to do while on duty, Kessler collaborates with her employees to figure out how to solve the problem.
As a generalization, Millennials like to be involved in finding creative solutions, and tend to dismiss prescribed methods of accomplishing goals. A way to motivate Millennials to change behavior is to incorporate them in the process of finding the best solution. For example, if an employee is having a hard time staying focused on scanning, and is often engaging in side conversation while on duty, instead of simply telling the employee that he needs to scan properly, try troubleshooting with the him to determine what would help him not be as distracted while on duty and establish any personalized methods to encourage him to stay focused.
Millennials are known to appreciate frequent feedback, but more important than the feedback is the collaboration on how to change the situation. Overall, managing Millennials tends to look more like working alongside them. This generation typically responds with a lot of enthusiasm and energy when they feel like they are part of the process, so the time it may take to adjust management styles to meet the need of Millennials will pay off.