According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the millennial generation, or Generation Y, makes up approximately 24 percent of the U.S. population, and by 2025, Brookings Institute predicts it will make up 75 percent of the workforce.

This means that Generation Y — which encompasses anyone born between 1980 and 2000 — will increasingly influence businesses over the next few years, more so than it already has. There have been countless articles and studies about how business leaders should engage with and lead this generation, but now we have reached the point where millennials are preparing to lead companies or are already leading them.

This is not surprising since Generation Y is consumed by entrepreneurship. A study completed by Levit & Deloitte reported that 70 percent of young professionals around the world aspire to be their own boss.

So, what can business leaders do now to help prepare this younger generation to take on leadership roles and eventually the company reins?

First, you must recognize the differences between Generation X and Generation Y. The former generally works independently with very little supervision while the latter prefers to work in groups and thrives on feedback.

1. Act as a mentor. Millennials want to build a meaningful career, so act as a mentor by guiding them on the path they want to take and helping them reach their goals. As I stated above, those in Generation Y crave feedback and recognition, so simply telling them you believe in them and support them will go a long way.

2. Give them responsibility. While those in Generation Y seek leadership and structure from their managers, they also expect their bosses to challenge them in the workplace. Trust them to take the lead on a campaign or run with an idea. With their incredible “can-do” attitudes, millennials will figure out the best way to get results without being micromanaged along the way. If they fail, help them figure out what they can do better next time.

3. Provide them with purpose. What is the purpose of their responsibilities in the company? For millennials, work must have meaning. Once you communicate the purpose to them and give them access to company information, they will not only feel more connected to their work, but also to the organization’s mission.

4. Treat them with the same respect you expect. This one is simple and holds true for most aspects of life. Treat others how you want to be treated. The Generation Y population has the knowledge and skills, especially in the technology sector, that others can learn from and they deserve to be respected in the workplace.

As business leaders, we want to see this younger generation succeed. Use these four principles to make their transition into leadership as seamless as possible.

This story was originally published in The Tennessean.