How to engage the Millennial generation

Millennial_Generation_cropIf engaging your Millennial employees feels something similar to nailing jelly to a tree, you’re not alone.

10,000 Boomers will turn 65 today and 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 19 years. Following are Gen X, who make up only 16% of the current workforce. Consequently, we have to focus our attention on the next generation that’s stepping up to take the lead.

Cue the Millennials; the demographic of 20 something’s that will represent 75% of the employed by 2025. So how do you engage and motivate them? Firstly, put stereotypes aside. Then, throw out what you think you know.

What makes them tick?
It may come as a surprise that Millennials are not as money hungry as one might assume. A third of Millennials prioritise freedom and work mobility over pay when accepting a job. So when considering what makes them tick; take salary off the table. Pay them enough to keep them happy, then provide them with recognition, development and work flexibility as other reasons to stay.

Tell them how great they are (a lot)
Millennials think that if their boss isn’t talking to them it’s because they’re doing something wrong. They crave regular feedback, but have a fear of being criticised. Keep it positive by focusing on what they are doing right and doing well. Productivity is linked to feeling valued, so recognising them regularly for their achievements will encourage them to keep up the good work.

Don’t be a stage 5 clinger
Micromanagement is a sure-fire way to disengage a Millennial; but on the other hand, they don’t want to be left on an island either. Strike the balance by giving them direction and pointers to stay on track, just don’t attach yourself at the hip. If a Millennial isn’t sure how to do something – they’ll figure it out. Trust them.

Keep them involved
Millennials like to be kept in the loop, to participate in team projects and observe mentors they can learn from. Be a manager they can look up to; let them be heard and give them access to ‘insider information’. Involving them in all aspects of the business will make them feel their input, skills and knowledge are vital to your success.

Let them be social
39% of 18-24 year olds would consider leaving a job if they weren’t allowed to access social networks from work. So instead of fighting it, embrace it. Let them use social as a tool to celebrate their work achievements with their own community. On average it will reach 300 of their friends (40 of which are colleagues) on Facebook alone. Why is this important? Instant recognition from peers is one of the most powerful forms of motivation.

Engaging the ‘gimme’ generation doesn’t have to be hard. Change your approach and you will get the best out of this highly ambitious and determined group of people – who are, let’s face it, the future of your business.


Sources: Pew Research Centre, Millennial Branding Survey, Mashable, Bersin & Associates, Maximizing Millennials
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