Millennials will transform management practices

by Jimmy Daniel

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have surpassed Generation X and Baby Boomers to become the largest group in America’s workforce, according to Pew Giving their design the seal of approvalResearch Center’s analysis of the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. Not only are Millennials continuing to grow and dominate the workforce, but they are also starting to take on more management roles.

In 2013, Ernst and Young conducted an online survey of more than 1,200 cross-company professionals in the United States that included evenly split responses from managers and nonmanagers in Generation Y, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. The survey showed that 87% of the Millennial managers surveyed had moved into management roles between 2008 and 2013, compared to only 38% of Generation X managers and 19% of Baby Boomer managers. That was in stark contrast to the same survey conducted from 2003 to 2008, during which only 12% of Millennial managers had moved into a management role.

With the trend toward Millennials taking on management roles and Baby Boomers transitioning into retirement, today’s Millennials will rework old management practices and mold them to fit their needs, values, and preferences. Here’s a look at what Millennials already have or will be implementing as managers and the changes employees can expect to see.

Work-life blend

Millennial managers no longer use the term work-life balance because Millennials access their work during their personal lives and simultaneously integrate their personal lives into their work, according to Chris Espinoza, author of Millennials Who Manage. Technology allows employees constant access to work, and as a result, they check work e-mails after hours. That means work and personal lives are no longer dichotomized, but are blended together. Employees can expect to see not only an increased demand for work outside the office but also more flexible work options.

No more yearly performance appraisals

Millennials don’t want to wait a year to receive comprehensive feedback. They want it frequently and quickly. Why? Possibly because of their career-oriented thinking and their passion for development and improvement. The Millennials at Work study reveals that of the 4,364 Millennials surveyed, 52% stated that career progression was the most attractive quality in an employer. Constant feedback and opportunities to improve are steps toward career progression. Simply put, Millennials don’t see the value of waiting a year to make changes to their work performance. The workforce can expect more frequent, informal, but legitimate coaching and tech-infused tools for feedback and improvement.

Employee growth

Along with the need for consistent and continual feedback, Millennials want to be invested in, and they want opportunities to personally develop and fulfill their goals as working professionals. The Millennials at Work research shows that training and development ranked as the most valuable benefit employees could receive from a company. The new generation of professionals should expect to see Millennial managers implementing more opportunities for development through training seminars, corporate classes to develop complicated quantitative skills, and more financial assistance for educational pursuits.

KPI as the new measurement

Finally, the Millennial workforce doesn’t view face time and hours spent at a desk as the main sign of productivity. That isn’t to say Millennials don’t expect to come to work, but they are developing different metrics to measure productivity and efficiency. The workforce can expect to see the implementation of such metric key performance indicators, or KPIs, as more accurate measures of productivity.

Bottom line

As the workforce adapts to the changes made by Millennials, we can expect resistance and tension from older generations. However, we can also look forward to new practices that will be embraced as the workforce becomes younger.


Jimmy Daniel is a talent management strategist with F&H Solutions Group. He may be contacted at

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