Understanding subtle differences between millennials and previous generations could save you money.
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Millennials will make up 64% of the UK workforce by 2020 and are ‘the first global-centric generation, having come of age during the rapid growth of the Internet’ according to training company Amanet.
Having grown up online during their early teens, millennials have experienced ‘significant gains in technology and an increase in educational programming during the 1990s and are also the most educated generation of workers today.’
However, millennials are ranked as the most unsatisfied generation within the UK workforce. Despite high training, adequate technology and clear processes, many companies are at a loss as how to retain their millennial staff.
In the United States, the total cost of voluntary turnover is over $536 billion a year. To combat this growing trend, companies need to adjust their strategies and employee engagement programmes to adapt effectively.
Engagement, which I define as the ability to be present, focused, and energised, transforms both employees’ lives and businesses from ordinary to extraordinary.
In today’s world you can’t afford not to focus on engagement - it is the central cause of all personal and organisational development and expansion. And it is the issue of what engages Gen Y that is the crux of the matter here.
To truly succeed in this new epoch, you and your leaders need to create an ‘engaged organisation’. Doing so will enable you to attract and retain productive talent.
You’ll create an environment where work becomes more than just a job, where employees are just as motivated by what they can do for you and your organisation as they are about they can do for themselves.
Below are my top four tips for engaging your millennial workforce:
1. Connect them to a “why”, and they will aim high
Ensure your business has a purpose that employees connect with. It must give them a why, make them proud to come to work and provide context for everything they do. Leading by example and showing ongoing commitment to this purpose will help foster engagement as well.
Long gone are the days when employees blindly subscribed to the mantra ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. For the best employees, today’s world is full of opportunity and they know it. Purpose driven organisations find it easier to attract and retain staff, not just millennials.
2. Create feedback channels
Allow them the channels to provide regular, structured, two-way feedback as well as ongoing, informal feedback.
This works both ways in terms of leaders providing updates on how the business is doing, what the next steps are and how employees can help too – putting their true engagement into action. Millennials seek continuous feedback on their work progress and one of the largest problems that companies face, is finding the resources or technologies to provide it.
Measure what you can, report on it and seek feedback on how to drive the improvement you seek.
3. Help them grow, and they won’t want to go
Millennials in particular cite values and ambition as the two most important things to them in the workplace. They seek fast progress in their careers and look for growth opportunities in the form of training and development, self-education, and challenges that take them closer toward their goals.
Their main focus in life is not to make you rich or more successful, but they’ll do that with passion if you help them with what’s important to them and show that you appreciate and value their efforts.
A study in the US by Fortune found that on average, millennials would be willing to give up $7,600 in salary every year to work at a job that provided a better environment for them. This is a clear sign that when it comes to working, comfort and happiness in their surroundings matter and may even affect their decision over which job to take.
4. Allow them the freedom they need to achieve great results
Flexibility is a key motivator for Millennials to stay in a workplace. The more unlikely it is that their social and personal lives are respected, the less likely they are to stay. Employees are demoralised by their leader if they are micromanaging them.
They see this as a lack of trust in their ability to perform the role. So, by giving employees the freedom to bring their own ideas to life, you’ll have the opportunity to share and celebrate successes with them.
This is far more empowering and appealing. Focus on outcomes and provide the structure, training and support for them to succeed and thrive.
With millennials compromising of an ever-growing, increasingly powerful proportion of the talent pool that employers dip into, getting them through the door and retaining them is of critical importance.
By understanding how the differ from previous generations, and updating your engagement strategies to fit, will ensure you don’t lose out on both talented staff as well as huge chunks of money.