Four Ways To Engage Millennials In The Workplace (According To A Millennial)
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Millennials are the most represented generation in the workplace currently, and because of that, there has been a lot of discussions not only around how to engage them, but also on how to keep them engaged. Studies show that this generation spends an average of two years with a company, meaning leadership often struggle to retain them. As a millennial myself, I’ve read enough about my generation’s traits (work-based and otherwise), and insisted I don’t fit the mold. But if I’m honest, I can imagine a few meeting room discussions whereby my seniors openly debated how to retain young talent to get the most out of them, myself included. Given the vast impact my peers have on the output of their companies, it is very important for people in leadership roles not only to acknowledge their value but to work on retention strategies that will last. But how?
Here’s a primer:
1. EMPHASIZE SOCIAL IMPACT
Humans in general, but especially the younger generations, feel the need to make a significant contribution to society, and lead a meaningful life. This desire for significance requires three things that millennials have been programmed to avoid due to this expectation for convenience: dedication, patience, and effort. Organizations need not combat this; they just need to acknowledge it, and work with them accordingly, so they also learn to work to your expectations. This generation is passionate about using the workplace as a vehicle for change. Choose causes that the majority can rally around, or, alternatively, open up a conversation and allow for suggestions on how to impact the community, showing their roles are not just about maximizing shareholder value, but also about social purpose.
2. BE FLEXIBLE
It sounds simple enough, but a lot of organizations, regardless of who is at the helm, get caught up in old ways of working, the way they were taught was the right way. My first boss always said if you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late. While this is mandatory for client meetings and strict deadlines, a recent study by Bentley University stated that the majority of millennials surveyed felt flexibility in office hours would increase productivity. If someone comes in 30 minutes late, trust they’ll work outside of office hours to ensure their work is complete. If coffee shops or the comforts of their couch are where they get their best work done, trial this, and explore how the majority of your staff feel they’ll best meet objectives.
3. COMMUNICATION AND TRUST
Cultivating a company culture where employees feel their input matters transcends all generational boundaries, but showing millennials that they’re trusted to do the job you hired them for is critical. Scrutinizing their attendance and micromanaging tactics are usually not only unnecessary, but detrimental. If you’ve selected qualified candidates, they’ll do their best work if you give them the freedom to do so. Trust doesn’t stop there, though, involve them in important decisions, particularly ones that affect their roles or departments. Not only does this form a strong bond between the employer and the employee, but it cultivates an engaging environment, which ultimately correlates directly with workplace satisfaction and retention.
4. FOCUS ON TEACHING
You get out what you put into anything. Mentorship and training is a key focus for millennial staff, with the desire for personal development being important to a majority of the generation, with 59% of those surveyed saying it’s a deciding factor when choosing a job. This is as simple as team training programs and setting up mentorship opportunities, of which often are just as much of a learning opportunity for senior staff. With millennial employees entering the workforce in droves, is your company ready? Making these conversations outlined a part of your management strategy will allow you and your organization to reap the benefits of increased engagement from your workforce. Four seemingly simple changes, most of which are behavioral, that can not only impact company culture but your bottom line.