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X-Gen Workplace Productivity

I was working late last night putting some final touches on my X-Gen Workplace Productivity deck for Thrives 2016 next week. My original plan was to dust off something I had written for another conference 15 months ago. As I cross-reference against the latest trends and data, I’m finding that I’ve taken on a refreshed perspective.

Yes, the Millennials are different than the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. But of course, since they came from a different place completely – we are all shaped by our experiences. Millennials grew up with access to digital media 24/7, awareness of school violence, watching their parents become victims of corporate downsizing, and probably the first generation of children with a schedule. Speaking as an Xer, I know I certainly was not privileged with those circumstances.

I am a huge believer that Millennials are the most productive in their comfort zone, on their terms. As a manager, if you want to harness that potential you need to ask how you can manufacture the conditions necessary for a productive workplace.

  1. Play to their multi-tasker strength – Yes, they can have YouTube playing at the bottom of the screen and still concentrate on the spreadsheet. I’ve seen it done many times. Now, switch the YouTube screen with something equally as stimulating for the brain that’s a bit more work-related. Perhaps, check out a competitor’s website? Or, take up an online course?

  2. Real time feedback is a MUST – The Millennial thrives on feedback. As a matter of fact, they are wired to take feedback and turn it around to change their behaviours immediately. Brush up to the best practices of giving feedback. Be a coach, not a boss.

  3. Authentic Connections – People sometimes mistake straightforwardness with a disregard of authority. Millennials respect authorities; they don’t respect inauthenticity. As a matter of fact, I don’t think this is generation specific. If you look at the business landscape today, top leaders are authentic – they say it like it is.

In our last workplace productivity survey conducted in 2014, 64% of managers agree that managing multi-generational teams is a challenge. Are you managing a X-Gen team? Do you find Millennial productivity to be an issue? What are your thoughts? Share your challenges.

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