Do different generations approach work differently? Recent studies have debunked many of the myths about Millennials but at the same time identified six important ways this generation approaches work. In less than two years, millennials will make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, and 75% by 2030. Use our sales enablement strategies to get ready and improve your Millennial’s performance and retention.

Six Ways Millennials Approach Work:

Millennials Value Flexibility…but Can Work Smarter.

Not on the same page with a Millennial about time in the office? You may have a different approach to accomplishing goals. Millennials tend to define productivity in terms of “work completed” rather than the number of hours sitting at their desk. As digital natives, they are more likely to approach the sales process by integrating more technology to “work smarter” and more efficiently. They may have answered emails on a Saturday night, so leaving in the afternoon to take a fitness class would not be considered a test of their devotion.

Training is Ranked a Top Benefit  

Ryan Jenkins, a Millennial engagement expert, reports that the number one factor Millennials consider when starting a new job is “sufficient training.” Forbes contributor Ashira Prossack agrees, emphasizing that access to employer sponsored learning is ranked by Millennials as a top employer benefit. Ms. Prossack clarifies that as digital natives, Millennials prefer digital learning platforms and gaming rather than static lectures. 

Millennials Want Feedback, Not Shaming 

Feedback does not mean that Millennials need constant praise. IBM’s Millennial workplace study found that rather than praise, Millennials want feedback, and a fair and transparent boss – like everyone else. Each generation handles stress in different ways, and Millennials are no different. The WSJ looked at how to reduce Millennial anxiety at work, citing Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson’s research that a sense of psychological safety was key, which is the ability to take risks or make mistakes without fear of being embarrassed, rejected or punished.

Millennials Will Leave to Make Money

Some managers perpetuate the myth that Millennials are more purpose driven. But a recent study published by Harvard Business Review concluded that there is little difference between Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen X’rs in their desire for purpose driven work. The IBM study cited above found that just like Boomers and Generation X, Millennials are twice as likely to leave a job for money, rather than because a job failed to satisfy their passions.

Millennials are More Inclusive…but Want Opportunities to Advance

A recent study by the Chamber of Commerce found that Millennials represent the most inclusive generation, and highly value diversity. According to Jennifer Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership, what Millennials really want employers to provide is a competitive salary structure, adequate support and feedback, and coaching and leadership, rather than micromanaging.  Young people seek out more feedback because they are still learning the field.

All Young People Change Jobs

There is a common perception that Millennials change jobs like they change their Instagram profiles. Yet a recent Forbes article reports that if you compare Millennials with other generations, they are not job hopping any more or less than other generations did at their age. 

Applying What We Know about Millennials: Strategies for Performance and Retention

Now that we have a better understanding of Millennials, we need to adjust our strategies. A recent Salesforce article outlined new recruitment and retention strategies that should be a priority for sales enablement of Millennials. These included opportunities for collaboration, digital professional development, and a flexible work life balance.

Given diversity is so highly valued, train your sales leaders to be sensitive to issues of fairness, check your stereotypes and offer opportunities for collective action. 

We know that Millennial’s prefer digital interactive, immersive training, which can enable retention of up to 90% of new material, unlike PowerPoints of old, where standard retention is in the area of 10%. When included in performance metrics, training can create a pathway for leadership, awards and recognition- which Millennials crave.

Identify Your Sales Rep’s Unique Abilities 

Since Millennials comprise some 2 billion people, of course we would expect wide variation within the group. Although info about Millennials can help inform our sales strategy, we need to understand the individual to actually create a successful sales enablement plan.    

Designing the Data Driven Sales Enablement Plan

For a more effective sales enablement plan, utilize both research-based analysis about Millennials and individual performance data from a professional assessment.   

To get an understanding of the Selling Intelligence of your sales team, administer a professionally designed assessment. This should include a comprehensive look in to your salesperson’s selling competencies-their selling behaviors, cognitive skills, and sales skills. Additionally, this comprehensive view should provide a description of expected behavior for each of the attributes being measured, and recommended strategies for improvement.

Selleration offers an assessment that is valuable both pre-hire and post-hire to evaluate your Sales professionals.

Understand and Invest in Your Sales Reps

No matter how many of your sales reps are Millennials, the benefits from using the strategy of both individual data and Millennial analysis are likely to be company-wide. The demographics of the workforce may change over time, but employees of all ages appreciate a leader who has taken the time to understand and invest in them.