A workforce is inevitably composed of an array of people of different ages, sexes, and races and embracing this diversity and engaging younger employees is a great way to foster collaboration and skill-building. Younger employees have grown up with technology and use it to constantly monitor and interact with the world around them. It is a common complaint that younger workers rely on the internet to solve all of their problems. This attitude does not allow for critical thinking and deeper analysis which are crucial aspects of today's market and very valuable skills. Elizabeth Newell writes about five strategies that leaders can employ to engage your young employees from Robert Wendover.
It has become something of a trend, in government and elsewhere, to bash Millennial employees — those 30 and younger who came of age immersed in a technological world. But rather than criticize their perceived weaknesses, a good manager can foster the type of analytical thinking and problem-solving that can be developed only offline.
Robert Wendover, director of the Center for Generational Studies, has spent more than a decade studying the impact of what he calls “menu-driven thinking” on the development of those under 30. Employees in their 20s, he says, grew up with technology that helped them “think [their] way through the day.” Many feel they should be able to find the solution to every problem online. In reality, though, problem-solving is about reasoning and computers don’t reason. That’s why many digital natives get stuck when it comes to making judgments, resolving differences, persuading people, evaluating performance, juggling conflicting priorities or dealing with a whole host of other everyday challenges, according to Wendover.
Keeping your young workforce involved and interested in their work is a matter of allowing them to make connections and collaborate. Being connected and available is a facet of today's always-on technological culture that will allow younger employees to feel more at ease completing the tasks put forth to them. Allow them to make mistakes and realize the value in different methodologies to problem-solving. Engaging younger employees by tapping into their energy and harnessing their network is a great way to allow for development.