Consulting® MARCH 2018 33
mentors should facilitate trust, feedback, an environment that embraces technology, as well as flexibility in
both work schedules and location.
MENTORSHIP AND FEEDBACK
Millennials seek trusted professional relationships
with support and meaning to help them thrive. To
cultivate this workplace culture, enable meaningful
mentorships by pairing young professionals and new
hires with senior consultants. Mentorships can shed
light on career advice, travel tips, industry best practices, reporting processes, effective workflow, and
company or client work culture, while fulfilling millennials’ desire for connectedness. When millennials
trust their mentors and management, there is a lower
tendency for employee disconnect and turnover.
Millennials also thrive on feedback, more so than
older generations. Accustomed to instantaneous response from technology and parental upbringing, they
crave comment and assessment. However, only 19 percent of millennials say they receive regular feedback.
Annual performance reviews are not enough. Project
communication and collaboration tools, as well as verbal
affirmations of extraordinary job performance are essential. Millennials and overall employees in general should
receive routine communication from managers at least
once a week mixed with informal daily connects, such as
emails, internal instant messages, phone calls or brief face-to-face interactions. Doing so improves employee morale,
team mentality and the ability to proactively respond to client issues while transitioning from a culture of annual box-checking to real-time performance assessments.
Technology is intuitive to millennials, comprising a
significant portion of their education and upbringing.
They spend an average of 19 hours on smartphones
each week and are even willing to leave a job if there
is substandard technology.
Millennials will quickly adapt to any IT upgrade,
often serving as super users to improve technology
workflow and training. This is especially helpful when
consulting in the healthcare industry as more physicians
and health systems drive to increase patient engagement
and optimize electronic health record systems.
Empower millennial employees by allowing them to
use their preferred technology for work when possible
with proper cybersecurity protocols in practice. Supporting
their technology choices can often lead to increased report-
ing and analytics capabilities for client work. At the same
time, give millennials a sense of purpose by having them
train others on the nuances of new tools and applications.
FLEXIBLE WORK STRUCTURE
In today’s advanced business world, technology frees
employees to work more efficiently outside the traditional
9-to- 5 office environment. Now, the millennial workforce
and new employment models push for flexible scheduling or remote work to maximize productivity.
Human resources trends are catching up with demand. Two-thirds of employers have adopted flexible
work arrangements while the number of millennials
conducting mobile work in 2017 increased by 21 percentage points over 2016. Contrary to initial management fears, schedule and location flexibility leads to improved performance and responsiveness. Seventy-seven
percent of millennials say flexible work hours makes
them more productive, while 89 percent regularly check
and willingly respond to work e-mails after hours.
Flexibility can result in employer cost savings on overhead expenses, such as office rental, printing and utilities.
Consultant turnover can decrease as well. Millennials are
more likely to remain with firms granting flexible work
hours instead of switching to a company that just offers a
higher salary. Under flexible work hours, employees are
less likely to take sick days, while reporting satisfaction
in work-life and mental-health balance. Directly impacting project work, clients gain energized consultants who
are driven by passion, not strict structure.
REVITALIZE THE WORKFORCE
Although millennials are mislabeled as an entitled
and lazy generation, these young professionals are eager to bring value to their consulting roles and client
engagements. By strategically utilizing their education,
energy, ambition and consumer experience, consulting
practices can elevate their workforces in the evolving
marketplace. Facilitating meaningful relationships allows knowledge transfer across generations, bridging
technology gaps while raising employee morale for a
more cohesive company culture.
Sheri Stoltenberg is the founder and CEO of Stoltenberg
Consulting, a healthcare information technology (HIT)