6 ways to get millennial employees excited about project management

Generally speaking, millennials want to be where the action is.

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October 03, 2017 |
Steven Burns

Make no mistake. Despite rumors that millennials like to take shortcuts and are rather lazy, the opposite is true. Millennials work hard—very, very hard. The only asterisk to this statement deals with the work environment they prefer compared to their counterparts in Generation X and the now-retiring Baby Boomers.

Generally speaking, millennials want to be where the action is. They like processes to be as speedy and efficient as possible, and they deeply value clear communication that emphasizes the value of teamwork. With that in mind, here are six ways that architecture firms can accommodate these working preferences of millennials and get younger professionals excited about their roles in project management.


1. Immediate Feedback

Millennials are very ambitious and want to absorb as much information as possible as quickly as possible. They won’t be satisfied with getting feedback only once or twice a year during formal evaluations. So how is a project manager supposed to carve out time to provide feedback to employees in the middle of a project while also orchestrating team tasks and activities, serving as liaison with clients, and juggling tight deadlines?

If you truly don’t have time to provide immediate feedback, then get it on the calendar. Acknowledge to your younger workers that within the next few weeks, you’ll sit down and go over their performance on their latest project with them.


2. Recognize a Job Well Done

In line with our first point, it’s important to realize that everyone appreciates a bit of encouragement. We’re not talking about participation trophies, but when an employee excels at a task or an assignment, give them a pat on the back. Or send an e-mail that simply says “Nice job.”


3. Virtual Teamwork

Millennials usually appreciate a flexible work schedule—working from home at times and having loose start and end times to their day. They’ll work well into the night when they need to, but they also don’t see the point in sitting around or fighting traffic when it’s not necessary.

With cloud project management software like BQE Core, they can keep up-to-date with their projects and tasks while working from their favorite coffee shop, the couch in their living room, or the project site.

While it may always be necessary to spend a certain amount of time in a common office working alongside project team members, Core makes it possible to manage a project completely online and allows employees to work a significant number of hours from a location of their choosing.



4. Online Everything

With efficiency and immediacy being such priorities, millennials push back against using paper or doing anything offline. Notebooks are mainly reserved for drawing, and desktop-based software like Excel is being pushed out by cloud applications. One way of accommodating millennials’ love for all things digital—and to help your firm save time and money in the process—is to start using cloud time and expense tracking.

Not only can time be entered while away from the office using a solution like Core’s web app, but employees can also enter their time using native mobile apps on iOS and Android devices. Core will even automatically track their visits to project sites and clients’ offices with its geotracking feature! Millennials no longer have an excuse not to enter their time on time.


5. Instant Insights

As we noted earlier, millennials are information sponges. Even when they’re not managing a project, they’re eager to know about its overall success and how they contributed. In short, they love seeing the big picture. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep everyone regularly apprised of your project key performance indicators (KPIs) like earned value, profitability, and so on.

If you use a project accounting solution like Core, you’ll be able to instantly view and share real-time metrics in specialized, customizable dashboards. Of course, dashboards that deliver information about everything from aged receivables to work-in-hand benefit your firm in numerous ways, but your younger employees will be delighted to be in the loop.



6. Creative Input

Millennials love to solve problems—and can be very creative in coming up with solutions. From discovering new tricks when working with your software to generating ideas about how to improve customer service, they’re just waiting for an invitation to offer their recommendations on how to make your firm a better place to work. Include them in brainstorming sessions—if you’re not already doing that—and you might just get a revolutionary idea.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, and during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After founding his own software company, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development for the company’s groundbreaking project accounting solution, BQE Core.

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