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Managing a diverse workforce

Today most businesses have a truly diverse workforce. It can be challenging, to say the least, to manage all the age groups involved.   

Millennials make up the largest generation in the workforce nationwide. Generally they were born between 1980 and 2000 or 1981 and 1999, depending on the source. This is an important segment of the workforce. They are the most connected generation in history.

Following are some of the things a business can do to attract and retain millennials as employees.

• Create a comfortable workplace.

• Provide structure.

• Provide leadership and guidance.

• Encourage them to express their ideas.

• Encourage teamwork.

• Listen to them.

• Provide challenges and creative work.

• Communicate frequently.

• Ensure work is interesting to prevent boredom.

• Take advantage of the technical skills.

• Offer rewarding and enriching training.

• Ensure a life-balance workplace.

• Provide a fun, employee-centered workplace.

• Offer rewards and incentives.

• Offer perks and benefits, including vacation and time off.

• Offer flexible working arrangements.

There are many things important to millennials including working for a company they can be proud of, giving back to the community and feeling like they make a difference. They desire competitive wages and benefits. 

They will leave an employer for a better opportunity to move up, make more money, a greater opportunity and a culture where they can thrive. Managers need to recognize the role they play in managing and motivating millennials. 

The same techniques and management style that works with baby boomers won’t work in managing millennials.  The understanding that all employees cannot be managed in the same way is crucial.

Businesses can successfully integrate millennials into the workforce by focusing on the things outlined above. Helping  millennials to have a sense of belonging, allowing them the power to make decisions, recognizing their contributions and ensuring they are recognized and involved as an important part of the team will go a long way toward integration into your workforce.

They want and deserve the opportunity to engage their hearts and minds, and management should figure out how to provide what they need to make it happen. These efforts are also applicable in understanding and serving your customer base which is also made up of a vast number of millennials. It is worth the effort and will be mutually beneficial creating a “win-win-win” — wins for the employer, employees and customers.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.