There is a great deal of information out there about how employers can engage Millennials in the workplace, teaching them as well as the rest of the workforce how to discover and utilize their workplace preferences, strengths and even their deficiencies. However, very little has been written for Gen Y professionals looking for ways to work and communicate better with their Gen X and Baby Boomer colleagues.
I offer these five tips below for them on how to effectively engage their colleagues of all generations in order to successfully negotiate workplace dynamics. It is time that we help them reflect on these preferences and develop strategies that will help them not just get their foot in the door but also move up the ladder in their companies, organizations and careers. We are shaping a new national character within the workplace and we need everyone to participate, bringing their strengths that will continue to make us all successful.
5 career success tips for Millennials in the workplace:
1. Invite a colleague to coffee, lunch or to go for a walk to get to know him/her
I encourage you to do this at least once every other week, if not every week. Not only can it help you build your work relationships but it may also help you learn more about them as an individual. This is the kind of relationship building that can pay dividends for your career both in the immediate and distant future. This also gets you out of the office every once in a while. Connecting with your Gen X and Baby Boomer colleagues will make you better at your work and more valued by your coworkers, organizations and its leaders.
2. Show interest in the history of the company
Doing so shows respect for those who have helped build the company. Many of the individuals in the workforce who are our parents’ age have remained at one company for their entire career and have been promoted or perhaps moved around the company, holding different positions and responsibilities. They are a wealth of information and if you seek to respect and learn from them, you will be successful. [Pro Tip: Don’t be a Gen Y cliche! Tips for overcoming the Millennial stereotype]
3. Offer your talents and strengths to the team wholeheartedly
Seeking to excel by offering to do tasks and take on projects in which you know you will succeed is one way to stand out but inviting others to join you in completing the task and offer to teach colleagues who express interest about a tool, program, strategy or technique in which you are competent to help them become more engaged in the work that you do. If you can enrich, challenge and assist them with their growth, they will reciprocate. Educate and be educated.
Discover your workplace personality type:
4. Take time to talk with peers outside of your profession
Learning more about how similar or different your experiences are can really help you brainstorm ways to deal with difficult situations and/or help a friend navigate the challenges. It is also really wonderful to know what works in relationship-building. Be mentors to each other while also seeking mentors within your organization (see #1 again).
5. Engage in self-reflection
There are so many fabulous resources out there to learn more about your own workplace preferences. We make mistakes in the workplace because we are not aware of who we are and what we bring to the table or we let emotions drive our responses. Take Strengths Finder, the MBTI, the Enneagram and Good.Co’s workplace personality assessment can get you started!
About the Author
Meghan L. Godorov encourages individualized, professional growth in her work as the owner of MLG Career, a career consulting business for Millennials who want to become effective leaders, find their career calling and purposely invest time in their communities. She shares her own career story on her blog: AnAdventureWorthTelling. Follow Meghan on Twitter @MLGCareer, LinkedIn and Facebook.