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6 tips that will help you work with Millennials in a distributed team

by Managing Virtual Teams on February 25, 2015
Business

Some call them Generation Y, Echo Boomers or the Net Generation; they are the latest generation to join the workforce and have been raised and educated in a world filled with technology. Rosalind Cardinal educated us in her article, Attracting and keeping Generation Y in your business, on how to attract and keep these millennials in your business.

Here are several informative tips on how to work with these individuals in a distributed team; these tips are highly effective in bringing out the best qualities in millennial individuals:

1. Use the technology

For millennials, having an online meeting or chatting is very common and an easy way for them to communicate with others. They are early adopters of technology, so explore the possibilities that technology can provide for the workplace and let them guide you through new and uncertain opportunities; they probably know more than you do.

2. Offer leadership

Like all who join the workforce, they require guidance, especially if we are talking about virtual work relations. Provide these millennials with daily feedback; they are used to constant updates and news. Provide them with the guidance they need and you will have them more motivated and involved.

3. Work in teams

Millennials are accustomed to working on school projects in teams from a very young age; take advantage of that and show them work opportunities from a perspective of teamwork; they will find more meaning in their work this way. Also, offer millennials the possibility to work with teams; they will be able to effectively divide up the tasks themselves. Remember that these millennials have more practice in this area than earlier generations and they truly believe in teamwork.

There are plenty of team management software options that will allow you to create projects where your team can login and see how their goals are being achieved. These programs are a great way for you and your team to monitor progress as well as keep millennials challenged.

4. Take advantage of their electronic literacy

Maybe it is more difficult for you to think outside the box; if this is the case give them the freedom to communicate using the channels and methods they believe are the best and follow up on them. Encouraging a positive and trustful attitude in the workplace will bring success for you and your company, so empower them.

5. Create clear procedures

Try to imagine what millennials’ former school days looked like; most likely strict schedules organised by their parents. They are used to having their days seamlessly programmed and they feel comfortable with that; create weekly/monthly reports, due dates, meetings on certain dates, gatherings with agendas, and minutes. However, don’t limit all of their independence; make sure you take the time to listen to them and hear their opinions before making a schedule.

6. Provide a fun workplace

For millennials, work is not merely a task that must be completed; it is also something that they can find enjoyment from and they expect to form friendships at the workplace. Make your virtual team an employee-centered place with regular yet fun-filled meetings where they have the opportunity to inform others about their interests, have online tournaments, online parties, seasonal celebrations, etc.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that millennials have used technology from a very young age so they feel quite comfortable holding online meetings, texting, and marking their progress on computers. My advice to you is: listen to them, learn from them and their ways of working, and give them plenty of room to grow and make changes as they adjust to a new workplace, especially if it is online.

Do you have more advice? What have your experiences been so far? Share them in the comments below.

Photo credit: Merlijn Hoek/Flickr

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Managing Virtual Teams
Anna Danés worked with several Internet start-ups, across three different continents, before founding Ricaris (www.ricaris.com), a successful Internet services company. With her knowledge of managing remote staff, and her firm beliefs that companies are responsible for creating a better world and work environment, she has recently created Managing Virtual Teams, a consulting service for companies dealing with distributed staff.
 
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