Employee Engagement

M illennial this, millennial that. Companies everywhere have been trying to find ways to handle the wave of millennials entering the workforce. The millennial generation has been slapped with so many labels (hipsters, techies, innovators, the instant-gratification generation, the special-butterfly generation, the short-attention-span...ah, you get the idea) that it’s difficult for their employers to know which labels, if any, can provide insight into how to manage these new young’ins!  Here’s some good rules-of-thumb for the overwhelmed manager-of-millennials.

Millennials Matter
Millennials are those born between 1980 and 2000. Today, this generation already makes up over a quarter of the workforce in the US, and will be nearly half of our workforce by the year 2020. They will have a major influence on our economy for decades to come.

Attracting the right talent and keeping them engaged is the key to making good companies great. So how can businesses adapt to attract and retain the elusive Generation Y (Millennial, Gen Next, Myspace Generation, etc.) worker? Turns out, it’s not all that difficult - if you can be flexible.

How to Retain Millennial Employees
Allow them to test the waters in different roles. Today, most millennials are looking for a defined role they can stick with until retirement. Predictability and monotony are the tenants this generation lives by...wait...that doesn’t sound right...

Millennials are quick and resourceful learners. They are also skeptical of entering a rigid career path. This combination is a powerful asset if harnessed correctly. An engineering hire might want to flex her design muscles three months into work–and that is great! Cross pollination across teams can increase collaboration and create positive collisions of ideas. Allowing young employees to work in different roles within your organization will not only satisfy their desire to learn and explore - but also help them settle into a role they are best suited for.
Ladder to Success
Give them paths to move up quickly. 
In a recent PWC survey of millennials, respondents ranked ‘opportunities for career progression’ as the most important factor in making an organization an attractive employer. Millennials will not choose companies that promise them a slow, steady rise through the bureaucratic ranks. Instead, they are looking for a company that rewards high-achievers with promotions. If not, they will be quick to jump ship and job hunt to advance their careers. 

Give them responsibilities and trust them. 

Millennials don’t work well with ambiguity and low expectations. Set concrete, high expectations and watch your employees flourish.

Micromanagement will destroy motivation among your budding workforce. Judge this generation on the results they produce rather than the route they take to get the job done.

Be a leader, a coach and a mentor. 

Move over Bill Lumbergh (from the movie Office Space, for all those youngsters out there)–the time of command and control management is over. Instead, millennials expect to have active and involved leaders who are invested in their growth. 

This generation is well aware of the benefits of mentors. They will actively seek out those in high positions to act as guides during their careers. 

To be a good mentor, support your employees in both their personal and professional developments. For professional development, give regular concrete advice, and expose millennials to important projects.

Pat on the Back from TeamAcknowledge achievements. 

In the days of yore, bosses in starched white shirts would line up their peons four times a year to force-feed them quarterly evaluations. Thankfully this practice is nearly extinct.

Millennials were raised with constant feedback. When they perform well, they expect to be recognized. The PWC survey of millennials found that 51% thought feedback should be given very frequently, while only 1% said feedback was not important to them.

Feedback can come through formal or informal channels, but should be consistent. Praise is especially important for millennials to stay in high spirits during their early career. 

Managers that are able to successfully engage millennials will retain and grow the next generation of leaders. Putting in place processes for the next generation of workers today will allow your company to succeed tomorrow.


Tagged: Employee Engagement

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(Texicus Marketersapien) is one half of the Sift growth team. Most of the time you can find him behind three computer screens with far too many tabs open. When not in the office, Dylan enjoys sleeping, playing soccer, and exploring Detroit in his cowboy boots.