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Surefire Ways to Improve Millennial Employee Engagement

September 11, 2017 by Christina Wainwright

Surefire Ways to Improve Millennial Employee Engagement

The future is here...and the future looks creative, ambitious, tech-savvy and purposeful. Millennials are the largest generation at work right now, and among the most diverse generation in world history. A one size fits all management agenda is long gone, left behind in a time where generational gaps do exist.

Fittingly called "Generation Y," these humans are inquisitive, entrepreneurial and innovative. At times getting a bad rap, the Millennial workforce is comprised of people who value real-time feedback and collaboration, expect opportunities to learn and develop, and often prefer purpose over pay. Knowing their characteristics and understanding how to best connect and engage with them can only help maximize your chances of retaining them at your company - which you’ll find to be invaluable.

87% of employees are disengaged...here’s what you can do today to engage your #MillennialWorkforce.

According to Gallup, a staggering 87 percent of employees worldwide are disengaged at work. Productivity and, ultimately, profitability are often victims of this lagging motivation.

The following are some things to consider when engaging the largest workforce today:

Millennials want purpose in their professional career

In days past, baby boomers didn’t necessarily put a job’s purpose as one of the most important factors. A stable paycheck to be able to support a family and integrate into the community was the goal. However, millennials see their job as part of who they are. The majority of millennials are guided by idealism and sense of purpose when they think about where they want to punch their proverbial time card every day.

We must give millennial employees purpose, not perks. Don't give them free swag promoting your company, but rather constantly cast vision and give them tasks with meaning. Make them feel like they belong and that they are part of a community with a shared goal that is bigger than any one person. Empower them to contribute ideas and provide constant feedback. This will reveal their individual purpose and desires in the workplace, with which you can build upon.

Millennials are extremely invested in making a difference in the world. As a result, they often will only take on work that truly matters to them. A recent Deloitte study found only 20% of millennials were happy working for a company that didn’t have a set mission. Conversely, the study found that 88% of millennials would stay with their company for more than five years if they were happy with their company's mission.

Read more: Be the Change Your Millennial Workforce Needs

 “Employees want to feel valued, and the best way to express that value is through investment in the individual,”

Millennials expect to learn and develop

“Employees want to feel valued, and the best way to express that value is through investment in the individual,” 

-Peter J. Martel (Source)

Increased productivity and employee engagement are directly linked to how supported and valued millennials feel. Moreover, 87% say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job. 55% of Millennials cite leadership opportunities as a key consideration and, according to a recent Gallup report, millennials actually place the following job attributes ahead of income:

  • Opportunities to learn and grow

  • Quality of management

  • Interest in type of work

  • Opportunities for advancement

Supporting professional development is one-way companies can attract and retain valued employees. Understanding their learning and workplace preferences will go a long way in leading and empowering millennials. Don’t let this feel like a daunting task; this doesn’t always have to be delivered face-to-face. In fact, millennials are largely visual learners. You can provide regular feedback and transparent pathways for leadership development even through digital means like video conferences or online portals.

36% of workers and nearly half of millennials would consider quitting a job that didn’t provide learning opportunities. Create an employee experience that is both inspirational and developmental, and you’ll be rewarded with employees that are almost three times more productive than dissatisfied employees.

Millennials want their work to fit their life

Take into account how, when, and where millennials prefer to work as well. Long gone are the days of logging eight hours a day behind a desk, just waiting for 5 pm to strike. Millennials care deeply about a work/life balance.

Flexible hours and opportunities to work remote play a big part in that. While that makes Gen-Xer’s nervous, research shows employees are healthier, more engaged and productive with flexible working environments.

A one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work. #Millennials are creative, futuristic and want to find purpose. Does your #EngagementStrategy align?

Knowing how to engage and lead the largest generation in the world workforce history is essential for the future of your business. At the end of the day, millennials put stock in the same things we all do - open communication, direct-feedback, opportunities to grow, and work that makes a difference in their lives and the lives of others. In return, they will give you innovation, teamwork, leadership, strong performance, and more productivity.

What Do Your Pain Points Say About Your Employee Engagement? Take this quiz and find out!

Millennials value collaboration & feedback

Generation Y prefers to work with you, not for you. When their opinions aren’t recognized, they can become disengaged from their work. They are the most collaborative workforce to date; they value new ideas and crave direct feedback. Millennials need to be listened to and know that their input is being heard and processed at a higher level.

Though, this doesn’t mean they don’t want feedback on the job they’re doing. In fact, a recent study by Viacom found that:

  • 8 out of 10 millennials want regular feedback on their performance

  • 61% of millennials say they need specific directions in order to do their best work

  • Two-thirds of them want to be included in a mentorship program

The annual or biannual review isn’t enough. Frequent check-ins, suggestions or a small kudos email is desired and valued. Millennials are incredibly driven and they don't want to just work, but succeed. Creating a culture of collaboration will ensure employees feel that their ideas are being embraced and their contributions matter.

Read More: Real-time Feedback: Key to a Stronger Millennial Employee Experience

44% of millennials (18-34) name health insurance as the most important benefit they receive

Millennials are tech-savvy

Millennials especially need a platform for collaborative, crowd-sourced employee conversations. Having a solution set up for anonymous feedback and conversations will also make them feel more comfortable being open and honest in the workplace.

Millennials care about the platforms, software, and tools that are being used. Is your communication stuck in a string of emails on an outdated email client operating on 2010’s OS? After all, this generation is the first generation digital native. Millennials prefer text messaging and platforms like Slack or Facebook Messenger.

Supplemental content: 5 Ways to Craft the Ultimate Employee Engagement Strategy

An engagement strategy for millennials

“Every generation brings something new to the workplace, and millennials are no exception. As a group, they tend to be highly educated, love to learn, and grew up with the Internet and digital tools in a way that can be highly useful when leveraged properly.”

-Kathryn Minshew Source

21% of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same. Gallup estimates that millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

Millennials are well educated, skilled in technology, very self-confident, able to multi-task and have plenty of energy. Managers of today can focus on a few key areas in order to, retain and excite the millennial worker.

  1. Share the company vision with your millennials on day one showing how their daily work fits into the larger picture.

  2. Provide development, leadership and coaching opportunities on a regular basis and encourage involvement.

  3. Structure your work culture around feedback and collaboration. Give continuous feedback often.

  4. Choose the right tools to not get left in the tech graveyard.

Hyphen is a real-time employee engagement tool built for the multi-generational workforce. With real-time mobile engagements, managers are able to get insights from employees to build a stronger workforce. Request a demo today to bring a tool into your organization your millennials will love.

Post Updated on February 28, 2019.

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