millennialFor many people, Labor Day marks the end of the summer. It is the weekend to barbeque, hang poolside, or head to the beach for one last hurrah. For others, namely Generation X, it is a chance to point out the flaws of the younger generation, aka Generation Y, better known as Millennials. This past weekend, #HowToConfuseAMillennial hit Twitter by storm, and Millennials came back with vengeance, mostly to point out the irony of using a platform created by Millennials to bash Millennials, and to thank them for the current job market, in a tongue and cheek sort of way. Millennials have a bad rap for being lazy, entitled, and self-absorbed. Obviously, these are not traits that you want in an office environment, but that doesn’t change the fact that Millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in the workforce. If your office is like most, your employees span multiple generations. Understanding how these generations differ can be the key to running a successful business. Numerous studies indicate that Millennials are far more tech-savvy, know how to use social media to create business opportunities, and are more enthusiastic about their jobs than Gen X’ers. However, in order for this potential to be realized, you might need to change your approach. Here are three things that you can do to play to their strengths:

Offer Encouragement

You’ve probably heard that Millennials need constant praise. This is the generation where every kid went home with a trophy, after all. But what happened to this level of recognition? Today, 3 out of 4 Millennials feel unsure about their performance at work. Nothing is worse than feeling in the dark about where you stand with a person, especially when that person is your boss. Yearly performance reviews might not be enough anymore, so you might want to consider upping the ante. Sure, pointing out someone’s strengths on a regular basis can be exhausting, but casual meetings here and there will clear up any uncertainties, which is sure to boost confidence, and in turn performance.

Be Flexible

Millennials don’t like to be told what to do, and that’s because, for the most part, they don’t need to be told. A quick Google search provides them with an answer. They still want guidance, however, but someone who is open, adaptable, and understanding. Millennials aren’t afraid to pick up, and go elsewhere if they feel uninspired or under appreciated. They want to grow, so don’t box them in, especially when it comes schedule. 9-5 is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and nearly half of Millennials will choose flexibility over pay. Embracing flexible hours and freelancing can actually lead to greater productivity as it allows your employees to set a routine that works for them.

Provide Modern Interior Design

Gone are the days of stuffy offices. Millennials don’t want to feel boxed in in their physical surroundings either. When it comes to interior design, it is important that you limit all forms of architectural confinement, such as cubicles, filing cabinets, or desks with draws. Millennials grew up storing everything they needed on their phone or laptop. What are they supposed to do with a filing cabinet? You also want to do away with divisions between meeting rooms, private offices, and common areas. Think open concept. Most Millennials can manage handling multiple positions at one time, so traveling between departments should be frictionless. If you’re interior is outdated, what is that saying about your company?


Generations always criticize the generation that preceded them. If history is any indicator, Millennials will be firing shots at Generation Z’ers as they enter the workplace. Throwing shade only sheds light on the fact that we all want the same thing: an environment of understanding, support, and encouragement. Despite what people say about Millennials being lazy, they like to work, they just work differently. In the end, you want need them working for you if you want your business to survive in this modern age.