Tips and Tricks

June 9, 2017 By Colleen Regan

What Millennials can Teach Us about Teamwork

June 9, 2017

By Colleen Regan

Read More from Colleen Regan

June 9, 2017

What Millennials can Teach Us about Teamwork

By Colleen Regan
Senior Product Marketing Manager

Millennials now make up a large percentage of today’s workforce, and with that has come a shift in work style trends, including teamwork. According to a recent survey we conducted of 1,000 knowledge workers in the United States, 71% of all professionals enjoy working in teams. However, Millennials tend to do more work in teams than other generations – which we uncovered in our recent slide share on “The 8 Myths of Teamwork”:

54% of Millennials said they always work in teams, and a whopping 46% said they sometimes work in teams. None said “never”. So how do they do it? What’s working for them today? We asked some working millennials for their advice for making the most of teamwork, in their own words!

Embrace a Variety of Communication Apps.

Millennials are keen to embrace the right tools for the right type of communication. They are not shy to use a wide variety of apps. Workflow tools like Basecamp allow team members to work independently at first, then come together to in an online meeting to share more in depth status updates or to “help other team members who might be struggling with a project”, says Tom Wright, an SEO/SEM specialist at Emails and messaging apps, like Slack, are great tools, but responses can sometimes be slow and can create needless friction among team members if the tone of the message is misinterpreted, says Ian Atkins, a financial analyst at Fit Small Business. “If there’s a high likelihood that the conversation will need some back-and-forth, or you’ll need to finesse the tone of the conversation, a video chat will serve you much better than email or instant messaging,” he says.

Trello can help teams track their progress and make everyone’s workload more transparent, says Sarah Adler, CTO and co-founder of Spoon University, a division of Scripps Lifestyle Studios. “Conversations about priorities and timelines are much more explicit with Trello,” she says, preventing duplication of work and making opportunities for collaboration more transparent, especially when team members work from home.

Be honest – air your grievances.

Open lines of communication, even addressing the negative, At Havas Formula, teams hold weekly meetings to discuss everything that’s going on with the team, beyond just account priorities and progress. “[We talk about] how staff members are feeling, both personally and professionally”, says Bruno Solari, a public relations senior account executive at Havas Formula. “That open dialogue allows teammates to find common ground and helps everyone to realize they’re not alone,” he says.

Try to keep work fun.

Many work environments are changing it up to become more casual and more fun. Keep this light-heartedness throughout your team interactions. Receiving a well-timed GIF in a group email or chat “can completely change the team’s mood and keep the tone light”, says Nick Hertzman, content strategist at Unearth Technologies, Inc. Another way to change the mood is to invite teammates to play a quick game. At least once a month, teams at Play with a Purpose play a 30-minute game, says Heather Miller, a Sales Manager at the company. “The game can be work related or just for fun,” she says, “but the main purpose is to allow the team to learn more about the company and each other.”

A happy hour or a shared activity can go a long way in creating trust among team members. It’s important to know your teammates beyond client meetings and within the workplace, Solari says. “Playing a Saturday morning pickup basketball game, or attending an evening concert together can create an opportunity for different conversations that lead to stronger connections,” says Brock Talbot, an account executive at Eric Mower + Associates.

Remain open to new ideas.

It’s easy to get wrapped up on what you’ve been tasked to do, and then feel obliged to stay the course. But a change in the course is not reflective of a lack of commitment – it’s innovation! Remember that good ideas can happen any day, and come from anywhere.  So stay open and neutral, and keep the greater goal in mind. “Never say no or quickly criticize another team member’s ideas or suggestions”, Miller says. Not all your team’s ideas are going to be good ones, but it’s important to consider the bigger picture and not react too strongly. Instead take what they said, and build upon it.