Ahead Of His Time: Why Michael Scott Is The Perfect Manager For Millennials

So, I’ve just finished my morning drink of milk and sugar, and it got me thinking: Was Michael Scott from The Office a manager ahead of his time?

His staff of GenXers and Baby Boomers didn’t always agree with his management tactics. They’d rather set up shop in their accounting corner, complete the work, leave, and collect their paycheck (I’m looking at you, Angela). Well, that routine just doesn’t cut it in the 2020 workplace. Millennials, the largest generation in the workforce, want fun, friends at work, and recognition. From his Dundie Awards to the way he genuinely cares for his staff, Michael Scott is the perfect manager for millennials.

MILLENNIALS WANT THEIR WORKPLACE TO BE FUN

“An office is not for dying. An office is a place to live life to the fullest, to the max, to — An office is a place where dreams come true.”

-Michael Scott

Did you know millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce? Only 29% are engaged, while 55% are not engaged at all. This was where Michael focused his energy. He could always think of new ideas to engage his workforce. He planned inter-office basketball games, a boat trip, a martial arts field trip, beach day, and plenty more opportunities to break up the mundane office routine. His legacy? Organizing and empowering the party planning committee (PPC, of course) to plan regular parties to reward its employees.

MILLENNIALS DON’T WANT TO BE MICROMANAGED

“Sometimes you have to take a break from being the kind of boss that’s always trying to teach people things. Sometimes you just have to be the boss of dancing.”

-Michael Scott

Micromanagement can be a creativity killer. Good managers foster atmospheres where employees can express their point of view. Michael Scott knew this. He was routinely out of the office, delegated tasks, and left the staff on their own to self-organize. He gave the employees the freedom to control their day and carve out their own place at the company.

Read more: My Employees Are All Millennials — Here’s How I Manage And Retain Them

MILLENNIALS WANT TO BE RECOGNIZED

“Tonight is The Dundies, the annual employee awards night here at Dunder Mifflin. And this is everybody’s favorite day. Everybody looks forward to it, because, you know, a lot of the people here don’t get trophies very often.”

-Michael Scott

58% of employees say employee recognition is how leaders could do more to improve employee engagement.

Public praise turns out to be one of the most critical aspects of engagement, motivation, and loyalty of younger employees. Michael Scott spent hours planning his Dundies event, thinking of highly personal awards for each employee, and even emceeing the event himself. In front of coworkers, family, and the Chili’s patrons and staff, he created an event centered around the employees.

MILLENNIALS ARE AT RISK FOR HIGH TURNOVER

“A good manager doesn’t fire people. He hires people and inspires people. And people will never go out of business.”

-Michael Scott

An estimated 41 million people voluntarily quit their jobs. By 2020, that number will jump to 47 million, or roughly 1 in 3 workers, the Work Institute predicts. Since 2010, costs associated with voluntary employee turnover have nearly doubled from $331 billion to $617 billion. At the current trend, that number could be $800 billion by 2023.

Michael’s numbers speak for themselves. He rarely lost employees year after year, while also keeping the company profitable. He went to great lengths of not firing anyone and avoided downsizing the company. Even Dunder Mifflin CFO David Wallace couldn’t help but be impressed.

Read more: 4 Reasons You’re At Fault For High Turnover

MILLENNIALS WANT A BOSS WHO CARES ABOUT THEM AS PEOPLE

“Granted, maybe this was not the best idea, but at least we care enough about our employees that we are willing to fight for them.”

-Michael Scott

Global studies reveal that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses.

Michael’s biggest strength was his people skills. It’s what made him one of the most successful salespeople Dunder Mifflin ever had and what made him a great boss.

  • He took it to heart when Sprinkles died.
  • He was overwhelmed with joy when Jim and Pam got engaged.
  • He walked Phyllis down the aisle (kind of).
  • He planned a fundraiser to find a cure when Meredith had rabies.
  • He was an active participant at Kelly’s Diwali.
  • He was there for Pam and her art when no one else was.

Read more: 6 Surefire Ways To Motivate Your Millennials

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HIGH I CAN FLY

Experts predict that by 2020, Millennials will make up 35% of the global workforce, with Gen Z making up 24%. Ultimately, both generations will equate to more than half the entire workforce population. At the end of the day, Millennials want to work for a manager who cares — cares about the company and cares about them.

Michael Scott isn’t a ‘traditional manager.’ But then again, Millennials aren’t ‘traditional workers.’ Michael blurred the lines between work and life. You can say many things about Michael Scott, but you can never say he didn’t care about his employees.

This article was originally published on the Red Branch Media blog by Kerry Pivovar.

Chief Marketing Brain of @RedBranch Media. I help folks in recruiting, talent acquisition and HR, figure out marketing, community and social. #TBEX #TChat