As seen on Small Biz Daily here

Having differences in any situation can be very polarizing; you either like it or don’t like it depending on your attitude to change. If you desire your business to affect the industry you are in – instead of being at the effect of trends, industry-disruptors or financial ups and downs – going in the direction of the change is going to make running your business so much easier.

One of the built-in ways of creating that change is millennials. It is estimated that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020; so, hiring them is inevitable. How can you use your millennial staff to your advantage? That is the key question to start exploring.

Gallup’s in-depth findings on millennials in the workplace explain that millennials and their elders are more alike than they are different, but where they’re different, they’re very different. This point of difference, if you choose to harness it, will bring a fresh perspective to your company’s targets, work culture and engagement levels (current 29% in Gallup’s research).

Here are four ways millennials can change the business landscape for good (and how to use them):

  1. Targets

Millennials like to see a vision of the future that is tangible. It doesn’t mean every single detail needs to be planned out, but having an overall company target and breaking them down into smaller more everyday targets makes what your employees do clear in purpose.

One question you can ask to gain a clear overall target is:

What is the difference you make to the community you serve?

  1. Growth

Providing possibilities for learning and growth is a key factor for a millennial choosing which company they will work for. They crave the ability to strive for more and if you set up your work culture to embrace that philosophy you will find yourself with more motivated and engaged staff.

A conversation to start looking at internally with yourself or your leadership staff is:

Does our workplace interaction empower our staff to strive for more or encourage them to stay where they are?

  1. Boss vs. Leader

Most research shows that millennials are not looking for a boss, they desire a leader. You will know this yourself if you are in a management position – would you prefer to be told what to do or instead be empowered to make choices? A leader knows where they are going without the need for anyone to follow them. This doesn’t mean you diminish your authority, what it does mean is that you don’t diminish the capacities of your employees.

One of the easiest ways to start leading your staff is to ask them questions. “How do you see this working?”, “What’s your plan for this project?”, “How can I contribute?”, “What are you aware of that we haven’t discussed?” are all questions you can start using to begin a different leadership-based conversation with your staff.

  1. Regular Conversation

We know we can’t change the past, and that revisiting the past successes or mistakes in conversation doesn’t result in lasting change for the majority. Annual performance reviews are one of the more outdated pieces of C-Suite traditions. When information is saved up for use at a later date it often loses its power. The millennial culture is based on instantaneous change, the idea of “saving something for later” doesn’t hold as much influence in the mindset of the younger generation. Instead have regular ongoing conversations both about possible improvements, directly addressing mistakes and feedback as required and also extrapolate from what went well.

Shifting to a more fluid and empowering method of engagement allows you to become a leader in your industry and more importantly for those who are working with you. When you use the millennial point of view to your advantage you have more chance of easily being able to move with the trends and changes business always brings. Asking your staff questions doesn’t diminish your authority, it helps it grow. Allowing differences in your workplace culture to be the stomping ground for growth instead of polarizing views is what will keep your business on the cutting edge.

Rebecca Hulse is a speaker, consultant and business coach, who revels in shaking up the realities and limiting paradigms of her clients. She is the Regional Coordinator for the Asia/Pacific Region for Access Consciousness, an international company with reach into 174 countries. She is a certified Joy of Business facilitator. Having completed her first “bucket list” by age 20, Rebecca is the personification of her motto “impossible is temporary.” She has experienced first-hand the power of opportunity and strives to constantly push the boundaries of what she is capable of, both personally and professionally. Learn more at http://rebeccahulse.com/. Follow Rebecca.

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