Baby boomer managers can be credited with creating employee support programs. Generation X managers can be credited with making the workplace more informal, making the term "business casual" commonplace. What will the next breed of managers bring to the workplace?
Chip Espinoza has studied millennials in the workplace. The author of the recent book Millennials Who Manage and the 2010 book Managing the Millennials says this new generation of managers will take a step further in creating a people-first workplace.
Say goodbye to annual performance reviews and rigid nine-to-five working hours. "This generation of managers is going to identify metrics that determine whether people are productive or not," says Espinoza. Frustrated with the idea that productivity is measured by the number of hours you sit at your desk, millennials are going to focus on better ways to measure performance. "Things like key performance indicators will continue to be a movement," says Espinoza. Millennial managers will avoid formal annual performance reviews, replacing them with more frequent and informal feedback systems that allow for better communication between managers and employees.
Generation X managers popularized the term work-life balance, but millennial managers are seeking a blend of work and life. "They don’t mind accessing their work life during their personal life, but they also want to access their personal life during work," says Espinoza. Gone will be systems that lock employees out of their personal lives while they’re at work, and in will come more flexible work-life arrangements that allow employees to work from home or work flex hours so they can spend more time with family or engaging in their personal activities. "Millennials aren’t going to turn off their personal lives for eight hours," says Espinoza.
Emotional intelligence is the new buzzword among millennial managers. Concepts of self-awareness, self-regulation, and relationship building will be key to millennial-managed workplaces. "Millennials are highly relational," says Espinoza. While you may hear the old generation of managers say, "I don’t want to be friends with anyone who works for me because one day I might have to fire them," Espinoza says millennial managers would never take that attitude. This generation of managers will put people and relationships first.
The blend of work and life for these relationship-oriented millennial managers also means that the relationships they have at work won’t just be considered work relationships, but are likely to extend beyond working hours.
Millennials are set up to be empowering managers that support employees in moving forward in their careers. Millennials are good listeners, and as managers, will seek out ideas from employees. "Millennials are problem solvers. They want to improve things, not just defend processes and keep things the same as we’ve been doing over the last 10 years," says Espinoza.
Millennials are willing to try new things, challenge processes, and think differently about a situation. They’re also very supportive and will be more likely to sponsor employees, providing them with learning and growth opportunities.