Millennials (born between early 1980’s to mid-1990’s) are expected to exceed third of global workforce by 2020. Being digital natives, millennials grew up in a world of technology and social media. This made them unique from previous generations and they have their own perception, attitude and approach towards work and different aspects of life.
Recent studies reveals that only 29% millennials feel engaged at work. This threatens succession planning, development, innovation and growth of any organization. To engage millennials it is necessary to understand who are they and what are their expectations.
Many studies on millennials are focused on character traits that tend to cast them in a negative light. Many HR professionals believes that millennials are entitled, disloyal, disengaged, less accountable and hard to manage.
Who they really are
- They are confident, optimistic and more individually empowered.
- Millennials are ambitious and not loyal to an organization where growth and development is slow.
- They like being mentored and want managers who can coach, respect and trust them.
- Value experiences over objects. Millennials prefer to be “doing” instead of “acquiring”.
- Have strong work ethic but relaxed attitude towards work.
- They sometimes see their bosses and managers as friends.
- Millennials believe that power comes from knowledge not titles and admire experience over position and power.
- Likes to work in an organization where the values match their own.
- They do not like to be micromanaged.
- Millennials support issues and concepts rather than institutions.
- They are influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers.
- Millennials are purpose driven.
- Prefer collaborative work culture rather than competitive one.
- They love innovation and likes to implement new ideas.
Millennials are now taking over the workforce and are quickly moving into managerial and leadership positions. If managed properly, millennials can be a great resource for any organization. Now that we know who they really are let’s translate those findings into some strategies to engage them in the workplace.
1. Allow Intrapreneurship
Millennials love to be their own bosses. An organization can provide incentives and resources to the employees and allows them to act as an internal entrepreneurs. This will not only keep the millennials engaged but it will also instill an innovation oriented culture.
2. Be Flexible
Millennials value work-life balance much more than any other generation. Studies shows that millennials are more productive when allowed to work flexibly and remotely. Allowing flexible working hours will increase productivity and it will also help an organization to retain its millennials employees who have got the reputation of job hoppers.
3. Provide Feedback
Millennials want frequent feedback from their bosses much more than previous generations. Millennials wants their bosses to be mentors rather than highly directed and they want to hear about their progress.
Instead of following traditional structures like yearly performance reviews, managers are encouraged to let millennials know how they are doing regularly through continuous feedback. Providing continuous, informal and customized feedback will increase millennials engagement at work. Even a simple feedback like “Good Job” at the end of some task goes a long way for the millennial generation.
4. Define Purpose
Millennials want a higher level of meaning in their work. They prefer to work in an organization whose values matches their own. Millennials feels more engaged towards work that have some impacts beyond profits. Defining organizations values, purpose, mission, goals, impacts and communicating them clearly is the key in millennial engagement.
5. Digitalize the workplace
Millennials grew up using the latest digital technology and expects latest technologies and tools at their workspace. Many organizations are adapting “choose your own tech” rule which allows the new employees to choose their laptops, headset, softwares, etc.
6. Invest in training and development
Millennials are more engaged and productive in an organization that unlocks their potential rather than just managing and controlling them. Personal development is one of the deciding factors for this generation when choosing a job. Empowering employees by investing in their training and development will help in millennials retention and engagement which will ultimately increase productivity.
Millennials are better equipped for today’s work due to it becoming more digitally fueled, uncertain and complex. Engaging millennials is the key to increase productivity.