Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Guide for Managing Millennials - Decision Making

This is the last of a 3-part series of guides for managers who are struggling with the performance and engagement levels of their Millennial employees. The first two provided concrete tips for Delegation and Performance Feedback. This last one addresses Decision Making.  

My recent blog post on Helicopter Parents in the Workplace raised alarms (primarily from Generation Xers) that a "reported 20-40% of Millennials' parents have called HR to obtain employment information, schedule job interviews and debate questionable performance reviews on behalf of their grown children." The concern is that it bespeaks a generation of teens and 20-somethings that does not make independent decisions. 

It's true. Millennials do not typically make decisions on their own. Given the choice, they will share their ideas through their social networks (which include their parents!), letting the group find the best answer through their combined experiences. In other words, the preferred decision making style among Millennials is crowdsourcing, a "distributed problem-solving model" in which "large numbers of solutions or information" can be gathered by "broadcasting problems" to a diverse group of "solvers."1

Crowdsourcing as a legitimate decision-making method in the workplace conflicts with the autocratic style of the Traditionalist generation, the consensus mode of the Baby Boomers and the independent decision making style of Generation X. But Millennials will make up 1/3 of the workforce by 2014, and their collaborative approach to work will become accepted protocol in the near future. Managers of this generation will get the best results if they seek concrete ways of integrating Millennial decision-making into daily work. They will also position their companies for future success in the process.

Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy


1 comment:

  1. I very much appreciate your insights into Millenials: as 1) a babyboomer with 2 millenial sons; 2) as helicopter parent to one of them 3) as a Life Coach with a background in Positive Psychology and who has 4) a number of millenial clients with 'helicopter' parents (to whom my bills go).

    While I am acutely aware of my "over involvement" with one son, (the older one), I had not understood this as a generational phenomena. I can see, from my parental perspective, the value of his reaching out for the perspective of broader experience and whether from me or older friends. However, from a generational perspective, I can also see this as new stage in the articulation of the developmental process. Adolescence was "born" in the latency period that developed with the boomers between puberty and taking on adult roles and responsibilities. With increasing % of the population going to and thru high school and then college this latency period grew as did the lifestles associated with it, around it and from it.
    In the same way, we baby boomers are now experiencing a latency period between "retirement" and the need to plan the anticipated 15-20 years we can expect going forward.
    So I guess it is no surprise, that the milenials, our boomer kids are also experiencing an extension of latency from college graduation to internships, consideration of grad schools, etc.
    Perhaps you'll consider a blog on millenial management from a boomer perspective?