Under no circumstances during the feedback encounter are you to order the Millenial to “get those damn things out of your ears.” As you’ve probably heard, several disciplinary actions are pending for such behavior. TODD SUMLIN
Under no circumstances during the feedback encounter are you to order the Millenial to “get those damn things out of your ears.” As you’ve probably heard, several disciplinary actions are pending for such behavior. TODD SUMLIN

Mark Washburn

Managing Millennials with a pitch fork will get you fired

January 06, 2017 2:12 PM

Memo to senior managers:

Because so many of you are on probation with Human Resources because of harassment complaints from your workers, we felt it imperative to review our guidelines for Managing Millennials.

Please do not annoy the Millennials.

Please do not use outdated “corporate-speak” with our Millennials, as it makes them think they’re caught in, like, some dead-end dinosaur exhibit at the natural history museum. For example, a recent memo used the term “work-week.” Refer to this temporal construct as “between weekends.”

Please respect their modern grasp of responsibilities. There is no need to confront one when they interrupt you to explain, “That’s not my job.” Particularly if they make a face while doing so. Assign the task to a non-Mill. It was probably the non’s job in the first place.

When providing negative workplace feedback to a Mill, open the conversation with a firm yet equitable statement like, “Do you have any idea how terrific you are?” Avoid loaded terms like “costly fiasco,” “below expectations” or “average” because these can be interpreted as pejoratives. Use neutral words like “bold initiative,” “creative approach” or “like, so awesome!”

Under no circumstances during the feedback encounter are you to order the Mill to “get those damn things out of your ears.” As you’ve probably heard, several disciplinary actions are pending for such behavior.

Acknowledge the earbud issue with an affirmation like, “That must be one killer podcast.” Reschedule the meeting for a time when the podcast is not playing. Do so via Snapchat.

Know that we must maintain flexibility to attract the best possible workforce. That old, rigid Baby Boomer paradigm of arriving early and staying late does not enable our Mills to flower during their most creative hours. Scolding strategies that involve demands of showing up each day create an austere office environment.

Remember that all of them have their resumes posted on about 5,000 recruiting sites and often, by the time they appear in our workspace, they are weary from responding to inquiries from our competitors about their availability and salary requirements and need some “safe time” to recover and discuss their benefits package demands with co-workers.

Interaction with the Mills after hours, even coincidentally, is strictly forbidden. They do not want to be seen with fossilized relics. Thus, we are taking the reasonable step of declaring off-limits to senior supervisors any micro breweries or establishments where craft ales are sold or discussed.

With the dawn of a new year, we are in an excellent position to reset our relationships with our Mills. Our annual performance recognition ceremony is Friday, and attendance is mandatory. Let’s ensure there are lots of participation trophies for our Mills, should any actually show up.

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007, @WashburnChObs

Mark Washburn John D. Simmons jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

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