The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    How to Manage Your Millennials

    by Anna Schott / November 7, 2014

    There’s currently been a shift in the workplace. That shift began when what is usually referred to as Millennials, or sometimes called Generation Y, entered the workforce. Being born around 1982-1996 this generation was raised during a period where a different set of values toward work and life were created. These values differ from the previous generation such as an expectation for quick advancement and hopping from one organization to the next. Keep in mind this is also a generation who came of age during a financial crisis with a harsh economic climate and know the struggles that came with it.

    Managing this generation can be a struggle but as the EcSell Institute firmly believes and proves to be true, nothing impacts performance more than coaching. Today it is true that sales managers must be equipped to deal with any generation within their team. Creating a team with different ages and backgrounds is advantageous and something to strive for when hiring, but these individuals also learn, act, work, communicate and understand things differently. They’re motivated differently so there needs to be less emphasis devoted to what sales people do or don’t do right as opposed to how each individual functions.

    So what can you do to help these millennials become top-selling performers and create a world-class sales team? First and foremost, learn about them.


    Millennials work for purpose, not a paycheck:

    They believe work-life balance exists and won’t stop until they achieve it. An article written by Karl Morre in Forbes magazine says it best:

    “Fulfillment at work, fulfillment at home… Millennials want it all and they want it fast. Unlike many Moderns, Millennials want to be home for dinner, and want to feel like their 9-5 job has a real purpose. They are constantly seeking purpose in what they do for a living and at the same time want to know how their job is helping them get to the top. They’re constantly questioning where they are going next and why. That is, which position they will hold next. If your organization can’t tell them that, they’ll seek out another firm that will.”

    What millennials should do:

    Be upfront about what you want from your manager. It is okay to share information about your personal life and why you work. It may seem intimidating but your manager will be more understanding when it comes to your personal requests and struggles all while building a relationship of trust. Don’t live separate lives at work and at home if you don’t have to. Both can intertwine and become fulfilling together. Everyone just has to be on the same page.

    What managers should do:

    Millennials are driven differently whereas the workplace and money don’t define them. Give purpose to your sales reps. Give them an idea of what the future looks like and how they can be apart of it. Let them know that their role as a stakeholder is just as important as the shareholders. They want to be apart of a growing organization full of life and opportunity.

    Millennials don’t want 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. jobs:

    This is a generation that grew up in the technology tycoon period. Using computers became a second nature for them. So now they don’t understand why they need to go into the office every day if their work can be accomplished on their computer in the leisure of their home.

    What millennials should do:

    Research the organization’s corporate culture. Many offices deem telecommuting as a privilege. If flexibility is crucial to you then that is your responsibility to ask questions during the hiring process. If you are already employed ask if this is a procedure the organization is willing to discuss.

    What managers should do:

    Start thinking outside the box. Just because your processes have been done the same way for years, such as working in the office every Monday-Friday 8-5, that doesn’t mean a new process can bring on greater success. Give your team some options and let them realize where and how they work best. Bring it up for discussion and let your team voice what days and times they know they are most productive.

    Millennials want feedback:

    Growing up millennials had cell phones and social media at their fingertips all day long streaming instant communication. This generation seeks recognition whereas some managers may infer this attitude as a constant need for ego-stroking. In reality, millennials just want to know if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They were raised with report cards in every single phase of their life showing how they were doing. They are accustomed to constant feedback or hundreds of “Like’s” referring to social media outlets. Millennials want to make sure their work is meaningful. If they’re never told so then they don’t feel like they’re making a difference and that is where they foresee a dead end and move on to another organization that makes them feel valued.

    What millennials should do:

    Don’t expect so much. It is okay to want feedback on your performance, but managers have a lot on their plates and don’t have time to micro-manage or give feedback on your every move, nor should they. Instead, during your 1:1 meetings with your manager, discuss the progress you’re making or the barriers you’re facing. Your manager cannot read your mind so you are responsible for owning that conversation and laying everything on the table so your manager knows how to be involved. This way he or she can be present during the process.

    What managers should do:

    During 1:1 meetings be present and dial in on what your team members need help or feedback on. Keep an eye on their progress and let them know you care about what is going on and be a coach along the way. Having a 1:1 meeting doesn’t mean the buck stops there. A quick “Good job with that _______” or “I’m happy with your progress” can be enough. Be vocal and be transparent.

    One of the high-payoff sales coaching activities that research has proven to drive performance is 1:1 meetings. Read more about this activity here.


    Be prepared. These young adults are gradually surpassing one of the biggest population groups, the Baby Boomers. Millennials are the most educated generation in America thus far with more members attending college than any other generation; one more reason you want them on your team. This group is now graduating and emerging into post-recession and they’re seeking jobs and ready to reshape the current economy. Are you ready?

    previous post Sales Coaching: A Tale of a Savvy Sales VP
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    Anna Schott

    Anna Schott

    Anna Schott serves as EcSell Institute's Director of Marketing handling all creative, brand awareness, and lead generation initiatives. Her most recent accomplishments include marketing a viral TEDx Talk and Amazon Best-Selling Book, "The Coaching Effect."

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