Millennials – those born between 1980 to 1996 – make up more than 1 in 3 working Americans, outnumbering any other generation in the workforce. Although they are often stereotyped as entitled, indecisive, and lazy, millennials are huge assets to child care centers when they are managed properly and given the tools they need to succeed.

For owners and directors, as the center leaders, it is more important than ever to understand the most effective millennial management techniques. Centers that do this successfully set themselves up for long-term success, since millennials will increasingly dominate the workplace in coming years.

Here are 5 secrets that top leaders use to unleash the potential of millennials in their centers.

  1. Motivate Millennials Differently – Oftentimes leaders motivate employees in a way that directly appeals to Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Generation X (1965-1979). These motivations often include the money, bonuses, and structure that were more freely offered in previous generations. Millennials, on the other hand, value appreciation, creativity, flexibility and impact. One study found that over 80% of Millennials care more about making a difference in the world than professional recognition. The more your center can help your Millennial employees understand their individual value, contribution, and impact, the better it will be able to attract and maintain Millennial talent.
  1. Give Feedback Early and Often – Many Millennials respond better to coaching than directing, which involves a healthy balance of management and autonomy. As 40% of Millennials expect to be in a management position within two years, they generally thrive on positive feedback and constructive criticism, which helps them understand if they’re on the right track. As a leader, give helpful evaluations on a regular basis.
  1. Provide Context and Answer “Why?” – When an employee from an older generation is asked to do something, he will often agree to it and figure it out as he goes, with little questions asked. Millennials tend to be more curious about the why. While this can sometimes come across as over-confident, they are generally more inquisitive by nature. Plus, when you give your employees context around your decision-making, it helps them better understand the larger goal and how they fit into it, which equates to a more informed execution on their part.
  2. Embrace Millennials’ Love for Technology – Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the internet at their fingertips. They are generally keen to adapt new technologies both in their personal lives and in the workplace. Advantages of office technology include boosted organizational communication, increased innovation, employee productivity, and lots of time saved across the board. Tapping into this inherent skill set can provide major benefits your center, both internally and externally.
  3. Emphasize Teamwork – Since grade school, Millennials have collaborated in groups within the classroom, during extracurriculars, and even on the court or field. During the time they were in school, teachers consistently highlighted the importance of working together with a team. To take advantage of Millennials’ unique abilities to work with a group of people towards a common goal by structuring your processes in a way that emphasizes teamwork.

Attracting and maintaining top talent is critical for your Childcare Center to maintain its high level of care. As more Millennials enter the workplace, childcare centers – and the many Generation X’s that lead them – need to be ready.

When properly managed, Millennials can redirect that infamous passion and determination towards helping you provide the best care to your families. Whether you implement new feedback channels, new technologies, or new group-oriented processes, by tailoring your management techniques to Millennials, you’ll be amazed at how much they can achieve for your center.  For more information on how to engage and inspire your team, schedule your complimentary Employee Engagement Evaluation.