Some top reasons for this include old technologies, rigid company hierarchies, lack of professional development opportunities and failure to understand the specific strengths that millennial employees bring to the table. In order to better onboard, motivate and retain millennial employees, here are a few things that employers should consider:
1. Make the focus clear
Millennials are driven by sense of purpose and by goal attainment. Allowing them to see and understand the big picture will help them to feel more involved and thus more motivated by understanding how their contributions matter to the company’s bottom line. Explain the company’s overall goals and motivations, and have a corporate culture that supports and empowers the mission. By making the purpose clear, it becomes easy for millennials to align themselves with objectives and give extra effort on important tasks.
2. Increase leadership opportunities
Nothing says “you matter and we need you” quite like allowing someone to lead from the front. Testing leadership with things such as running meetings or setting agendas will create confidence and allow them to continue to grow into more senior leadership roles. Remember, 75% of the global workforce will be millennials by 2025; so, there’s no time like the present to help prepare them for leadership within your organization.
3. Flexibility is key
While most generations worked the 9–5 in the cubicle each week, modern technology has made it possible for employees to work from virtually anywhere at any time. You may consider allowing employees to work from home one day per week or making flexible hours that start anywhere between 7am-10am, for example. This added flexibility will appeal to their desire for autonomy and can be worth much more than traditional financial incentives. Let your employees prove to you that they can be responsible and trusted. The more flexibility you give, the more you will see them grow.
4. Technology matters
While previous generations didn’t mind slow computers, buggy technologies and outdated software, it will not fly with this generation. These “digital natives” have been raised with a device in their hands and they expect quick, efficient technology in the workplace. Recent studies have shown that when technology is slow, millennials will turn to their phones or other devices, costing the company time and productivity. Just as Gen X got frustrated with the fax machines, millennials will get frustrated with everything from software platforms to apps and that frustration will lead to frustration and disengagement. Remember, one of the biggest strengths that millennials bring to the table is their technological prowess; so, don’t restrict their ability to get busy by hampering them with slow and outdated technologies.
5. Provide mentors and coaches, not bosses
Millennials thrive on feedback, especially in real-time. According to Gallup: performance management requires a constant focus on feedback. 44% of those polled are more likely to be engaged when their manager holds regular meetings with them. Let them know how their contributions matter and then give them feedback and recognition when the goal is completed. This type of positive reinforcement will let them know that they play a valuable role in the company and that they have a clear purpose within the ranks. By partnering this generation with senior mentors, you can also help bridge the gap between generations, resulting in better company culture.
6. Create a strong company culture
Millennials are attracted to companies with strong culture and values that align with their ideals, lifestyle and sense of purpose. According to a recent report from Gallup, “Millennials want what previous generations wanted: a life well-lived, good jobs with 30-plus hours of work a week, regular paychecks from employers BUT they also want to be engaged (emotionally and behaviorally), they want high levels of well-being, a purposeful life, active community and social ties. They want to spend money not just on what they need, but also on what they want. Only 29% of employed millennials are engaged at work.”
- 16% of millennials are actively disengaged. These individuals don’t like their jobs and are actively ensuring others don’t either. Even if it’s not their intention, this will damage their company.
- 55% of millennials are not engaged. They are punching in and punching out but they are not fully present while they are at work. Energy and passion are out the window, the company suffers, their customers suffer, and ultimately the economy suffers. Indifference is a company-killer.
Clear, consistent, actionable feedback combined with recognition is key to creating good company culture. Let your employees know they matter, they are valued and they play a critical role in the success of your business. Invest in them and they will invest back in you, in a big way!