In the first part of this blog, we discussed the purpose of adapting to a millennial workforce and the role of culture. In part 2, we explored the importance of engaging and empowering employees, no matter their generation. We will now examine how these factors work together to drive collaboration and ultimately support business goals.
Engaged, empowered employees are capable of tremendous things but, as the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Engaged employees will strive to do their best work, and an empowered individual will seek out better ways to do things. At times, these aspects may collide, and employees may find collaboration is the best route forward.
Collaboration is at the crux of engagement and empowerment, as it can take a good idea and make it great, combining the best of everyone involved for superior results. I remember at the beginning of my tech career everyone was so concerned with sharing their experience, because they were afraid of losing their job or becoming irrelevant. I have always been the type of person who believes collaboration will make everyone better. I know no one wants to fail. We all want to succeed, and collaborating and working together can help us achieve this.
As a leader, it is impossible to empower your team without also collaborating with them. You may call the shots on what needs to be accomplished, but the process of getting there should also be decided with input and investment from your team. Work with your team to understand what motivates them. Gain their input, provide continuous feedback, and allow them to make mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, thank your team for a job well done and hard work. Sometimes, a simple thank you goes a very long way.
Culture is paramount in supporting and fostering collaboration. Leaders can engrain this by celebrating team efforts over individual achievement, and encouraging the exchange of ideas, resources and time across departments. In turn, collaboration can support a culture of understanding and drive a desire for mutual success.
Nothing I have stated is exclusive to millennials, nor should it be. Today is not so different than when my generation entered the workforce, except that a millennial is more accustomed to technology’s role in business. Just like generations before them, millennials want to be heard and understood, to be integral to a team and to be part of the solution. Technology enables this all, making it second nature to work together rather than alone, to find our own ways of doing things that work best, and to see in real time how our work affects the organization.
What millennials want from their employers and careers is no different from the rest of the workforce. Engage and empower your employees, aim for collaboration, and build a culture that supports all these aspects, and employees of every generation will thank you.