Most hospitality property employees are millennials & you might have seen they think, work & respond differently.
Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.
Today, I am going to look at How to Manage Your Millennial Workforce.
If you are operating a hospitality property, there is a good chance that most, if not all of your employees are Millennials.
You might be thinking, “My employees are my employees. I don’t differentiate between the generations. Actually, I don’t know the difference between the generations”.
Here’s a quick review.
|Baby Boomer Generation||1946||1964||54||72|
|Generation X (Baby Bust)||1965||1979||39||53|
|Generation Y –
The Millennials –
|iGen / Gen Z||1995||2012||6||23|
So today, why am I focusing on Gen “Y” or the millennials?
As I said, millennials were born in the early 1980’s to 1994 so that would make them between the ages of 24 – 38 years of age. The majority of hospitality properties I have visited have had employees that fall between those ages.
They grew up in an electronics-filled and progressively online and socially-networked world. As the most ethnically diverse generation, Millennials tend to be tolerant of difference. Having been raised under the mantra “follow your dreams” and being told they were special, they tend to be confident. Sometimes this spills over into the realms of entitlement and narcissism.
One study reported, the result of Millennial optimism is entering into adulthood with unrealistic expectations, which sometimes leads to disillusionment. Many early Millennials went through post-secondary education only to find themselves employed in unrelated fields or underemployed and job hopping more frequently than previous generations.
For this reason, they think, work and respond differently than other generations, particularly those who would most comprise the senior hotel manager, corporate executive or consultant levels. This empathy gap can have significant ramifications, and learning to effectively work with this younger generations is a necessary step towards delivering on your business goals.
Millennials are often their own worst enemy as they take many things for granted. They were ‘nurtured’ more so than past generations with helicopter parenting and ‘participation’ trophies for just about any competition, and they’ve come to know a world as one where automation has assumed countless manual or arduous tasks.
I don’t want you to assume that all is lost with this age group. Far from it. I have seen and worked with many incredible millennials.
What I am going to do is share with you some ways to deal with a few of the millennials’ idiosyncrasies.
Appreciating You Properties Priorities
Don’t think that this is immediately obvious or understood when first hired. It is crucial to spend time on not only identifying what the priorities are for your property but also why these priorities are important. This is where an operation manual is essential. Only by being clear about the end results of any operational activity will you fortify all your employees’ commitments to accomplishing these goals.
Next, you must keep in mind the myth whereby individuals of this generation may be more easily distracted by new or upcoming personal entitlements, so a straightforward solution is to rely on checklists and regular reviews to keep their eyes on the prize.
Have you ever had an employee ask for time off when you’re operating at peak occupancy? While seasoned members of your team would never even consider asking because they know the strain this puts on everyone else, millennials are more likely to focus on their personal lifestyles without thinking of the company. The responsibility is on you to gently yet thoroughly tutor these young minds about the natural ebbs and flows of the annual business cycle as well as how individual actions might resonate throughout a property and impact other staff’s duties.
Again, an open conversation about job expectations and responsibilities is required along with this all documented in your operation manual.
Basic Gaps in Knowledge
What you would consider being common knowledge, might not be in a millennials social lexicon, or even that they would be naturally fascinated to learn more about the issues and historical milestones of your generation.
Education priorities have evolved over the years and the knowledge that we have taken for granted might not have been in the average millennials school course load.
The lesson here is to never assume what someone’s past education may or may not encompass and to be patient when referencing the past so they do not take offence or feel you are ‘talking down’ to them.
Your Employees Writing Skills
Daily use of social media has slightly compelled the millennial mind to think of language in terms of soundbites. This is intensified by colleges and universities opting to use of multiple-choice tests over those requiring an essay-type answer. For this reason, basic writing skills have lapsed, with many members of this demographic unable to write a one-page memo with a direct thought process and proper sentence grammar. Similar to this, reading abilities have declined, meaning that lengthy emails may go unread or that you will only see an effective follow-up to the first part but nothing else.
The key to your response here is in your tone. It is okay to ask for a rewrite or offer suggestions for next time, but you must do so softly and as a mentor, not an irritated dictator.
We understand the importance of paid time off for the death of a close loved one – a spouse, parents, grandparents and siblings. But how many days do you give as bereavement leave for a great-uncle? Or how many days do you allow for the death of your favourite pet sloth?
What if one of your employees call in sick, but says that they are going to ‘work from home’, do you deduct a sick day or let it slide?
Yes, millennials are sensitive, which is one of their greatest strengths. However, there’s a limit, and it is up to you to be totally transparent from the start what your time off policy is so that it isn’t abused. Again, this needs to be documented in your operation manual.
Am I starting to sound like a broken record?
Multitasking does not work; our minds can do only one thing well at a time.
Yet, walk around any property and see how many smartphones are on the desk within eye line or are being actively engaged at that moment. As an example, how would you feel if you saw your auto mechanic working on your engine while watching a baseball game and answering texts?
Sure, it can be done but is that mechanic giving a 100% of their attention to your car or is there a possibility of something being missed?
The solution here is to once again fall back on policy (operations manual), plainly and precisely stating what you allow for smartphone use as well as why these rules are in place.
Millennials can be a great asset to your hospitality property, but it is important to realize there are differences between the generations and that with the proper organization and a little patient, you can go a long way to building your dream team
If you have any stories about How to Manage Your Millennial Workforce and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.
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That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.
Until next time, have a fun day.
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