How millennial managers are reshaping the workplace
| May 12, 2020
If you’re older than 40 or so, there’s a tendency to think of millennials in terms of popular stereotypes: avocado toast-eating youngsters job-hopping at the drop of a hat. However, some millennials have been working for almost two decades — and many of these individuals are managers.
A new report by Zapier reveals that 62% of millennials manage at least one direct report. For years, we’ve been studying how millennial employees are changing the workforce. But now, the more appropriate question is: how are millennial managers shaping the workforce?
Why millennials move into management roles
The majority of millennial managers (61%) in the Zapier report said they moved into a management role because it was the only way to advance their career or earn more money. This was the top answer among 70% of men vs. 48% of women.
Also, 46% of respondents said they either wanted more responsibility or they were passionate about the role’s responsibilities. Some millennials (27%) say they worked for someone who inspired them to be a manager; 13% stepped into the role because there was no one else available to put in the role. (Note: respondents could choose more than one answer.)
Challenges millennial managers face
“One of the biggest challenges millennials in management positions face is burnout,” says Carly Moulton, senior communications specialist at Zapier. “Based on our research, 73% have noted a loss of productivity because they are feeling burned out from work.”
However, they could also be pushing this mentality across and down the chain. For example, 57% of millennial managers expect teammates to respond to them outside of work hours, and Moulton explains that this mindset could create burnout in others. The study also found that 32% of millennial managers struggle with delegating work, and Moulton points to this as yet another reason why millennial managers could be experiencing burnout.
Workplace advantages that millennial managers provide
The fact that managers are getting younger reflects the general workplace. “Zapier’s data shows that younger employees value soft skills in their managers — skills that focus on people,” Moulton says. Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, so their opinions on the traits of a good manager are important.
“Millennials feel communication skills and the ability to make a team more productive/efficient are the most important qualities for their managers (69% and 61%, respectively),” Moulton says. Other skills important to millennials include the ability to motivate employees and conflict resolution.
However, less than half of respondents considered strategic planning skills, delegating work, driving business results, and budget management to be important traits of a good manager.
Moulton says these views will shift the fundamental ways that companies build and staff their organizations. “Being successful at these soft skills allows teams to grow, invent and innovate, making the difference in crowded markets and competitive fields.”
How millennial managers will change how business gets done
Millennials are also digitally savvy, and this is reflected in their preferences. “Zapier found that three-quarters of millennials (76%) say they would be less likely to hire someone if they did not have basic computer skills, and a whopping 85% say they encourage their direct reports to solve problems using technology,” Moulton says. “This includes technologies like automation, with almost 9 in 10 (87%) managers saying they are open to their direct reports automating parts of their job.”
Ghosting and jumping ship
When millennial managers quit, the report found that they were more likely than millennial nonmanagers (46% to 25%) to ghost an employer, which means they quit without giving notice.
However, Zapier’s report appears to dispel the myth of job-hopping. “We discovered that, contrary to the belief that these workers change jobs frequently, millennials are incredibly loyal and plan on staying at their current job for at least 10 years,” Moulton says.
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