Combating the Millennial Attention Span to Keep Your Team Engaged
A recent study conducted by Microsoft found that the average human attention span is down to eight seconds from 12 when it was originally measured in 2000. The study's researchers also claim that the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish, which is nine seconds. Many attribute this drop to the proliferation of technologies, specifically smartphones and video games. However, the decrease in attention span isn't the problem. It is the amount of information available that causes a problem. Due to technological advances, there is now more information available than ever before, which means there are more ways to access information as well.
One of the best quotes I've ever read on the subject came from Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon in 1969: "In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it."
Millennial engagement within the workplace
Although millennials may be physically present at work, many are not actually engaged within the workplace. According to gallup.com, only 29 percent of millennials are engaged at work, while the other 71 percent are either totally unengaged or actively disengaged. This lack of disengagement may also be the reasoning behind why more than half of all millennials are open to new jobs and don't plan on being with their current company a year from now.
Related: 5 Ways Millennials Built My Empire
Engagement is the key.
Everything starts with engagement. I ensure that my interns and employees are constantly engaged with our company's purpose and mission by holding meetings twice a week. By hearing each individual's feedback and reflection on what we've been doing well and what there is to improve upon, I am constantly providing my teams with opportunities to engage with me and observe how their opinions make a difference.
The importance of accountability
The first step needed in order to engage millennials within the workplace is to understand how they differ from other employees from other generations. Many millennials differ from other employees in their needs and desires. They want to be held accountable for their actions. They want to get credit for the hard work that they contribute to a company. When a millennial feels as if his or her hard work goes unnoticed or is unappreciated, he or she becomes unhappy and begins seeking out new job opportunities to solve this problem.
Millennials will soon run the world.
It's very important to keep in mind how millennials think and thrive. Not only are they a very important asset to the workplace, but they are also next up to run it entirely. Preparing them to successfully do so should be one of our most important goals. Although they might possibly have the attention span less than that of a goldfish, millennials will soon run the world. If you don't believe me, just wait 15 years and you'll see for yourself.