Teaching Tech The Millennial Way

Paul Lim and Lexi Tucker
Posted on October 10, 2017

All good relationships are built on three main factors: trust, mutual respect, and understanding. Just as most managers earned their positions through years of dedicated work and proven competence, Millennials have spent their lives learning and adapting to new, advanced technology.

Professionals both young and more mature have traits they can teach the other, but they must be willing to work together to benefit.

As digital natives, Millennials are more technologically inclined than prior generations. They’ve seen Uber emerge, as well as embarrass itself because of inept management. There are undoubtedly many tech tips and lessons Gen Y employees can teach operators and managers to help them avoid mishaps. In today’s technology, teaching goes both ways.

Just Ask

Contrary to what we all might want to believe, no one knows it all. It’s okay to request help when you need it. The average Millennial wouldn’t make fun of you for not knowing how to post a video on your company Facebook page or tweet a link to a coupon. All you have to do is ask — it’s really that simple.

If you’re worried about the cost of said help, don’t be. You have everything you need already if you’ve employed Millennial dispatchers, reservationists, or other staff members. These young professionals are not of the “it’s not in my job description” mentality. Chances are, they consider helping out in any way to be a part of their current duties.

And this doesn’t just go for tech questions. If you’re looking for ways to attract younger employees for an actual IT position within your company or even Millennial clients, ask them what drew them to working in the chauffeured transportation industry to begin with. Question them about what attracted them to your company specifically.

What Older Workers Can Teach
Younger Workers
• Coping with hard times
• Importance of loyalty
• Experience
• Interpersonal skills
• Reducing regrets
• Independence
Source: Monster Worldwide, Inc.

Patience Makes Perfect

Just because not everyone understands how to use a computer, smartphone, or tablet, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to. The first step should be discovering what barrier or stigma is preventing employees from using it well. To do this, both the older student and Millennial teacher must have the patience needed to solve the issue.

This is where it’s crucial both sides remain open with one another and foster mutual respect. It’s a two way street: If upper management wants younger professionals to help them, they have to be willing to listen and be patient. One challenge in talking to superiors from an older demographic about technology is they typically learn it more slowly. This isn’t bad, but Millennials may need to repeat a step a few times before a manager grasps it.

The best part of having patience is it costs you nothing, and makes your Millennial employees feel valued. For example, if an operator came up to a Millennial staff member and said, “Our older chauffeurs have no idea how to do XYZ. Is there any way you could lead a training session?” This underscores the fact they see the young employee as a professional, not a child or intern.

It’s a great opportunity for owners and younger employees to show how much they care about all team members, want the business to succeed, and ensure employees come away with useful information and skills.

Social Media 101

While some companies may have a designated social media manager, others do not have that luxury. But every business should have at least one person who understands the basics. If that person happens to be a Millennial, there may be times when she is unable to update your company profiles (if sick, on vacation, etc.), and will need a substitute.

What Younger Workers Can
Teach Older Workers
• New technology
• Appreciation for diversity
• Benefits of job-hopping
• Risk taking
• Balancing work/life issues
• Acting on their dreams
Source: Monster Worldwide, Inc.

You may want to ask them to lead a brief tutorial on the basic anatomy of a post: Adding a photo, text, using hashtags, and the mechanics of tagging people or pages. Older employees may not see the merit in certain social media sites like Twitter, so have the instructor explain the differences between the various social media sites and why you might be on one, but not another.

Give More, Get More

People often say Millennials are more entitled or ask for more than they deserve. Likewise, they are willing to give more. They may want to work on their own terms or from home. If you give them that kind of freedom and trust, they are ready to work the extra hours when needed.

For example, if there’s an emergency in the middle of the night and you send them an email or text at 3 a.m., it’s likely they would respond if they truly cared about your company. Millennials devote more effort to their employers if they have a good reason. The relationship is one of give and take; if you allow them to be happy, they will make you happy.

Millennials value work-life balance; there’s no debate. However, when they take pride in and enjoy what they do, they make their work as much a part of their lives as they do social media. They won’t shirk their duties just because it’s past 5 p.m.

They understand one day they’ll be the highest rung on the ladder and need the same kind of help. But if they don’t help now, these companies won’t be around long enough for that to happen.

Related Topics: continuing education, industry education, LCTFast40, Millennials, social media, technology

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