Keeping Millennials Engaged at WorkBy Alanah Throop on June 6, 2012 in Infographics, The Future of Work, Thought Leadership
I’m a millennial. Some may think this is my personal dramatic interpretation of how special my generation is, but in reality this has been a major discussion the past few years. If you think Gen Y is a handful, this is just a preview of what is yet to come. The concept of a generation gap isn’t new, but this is not a gap…. it’s a huge freaking divide.
As recent graduates leave university and venture into the workforce, millennials are seen taking over, in and outside of the workplace. According to Dan Schawbel, there are about 80 million millennials and 76 million boomers in America. Half of all millennials are already in the workforce, and millions are added every year. For some this may seem like an intimidating stat. This is reality. Gen X may not want millennials to take over, but if you want your business to continue to develop, the younger generation has a better understanding of what they want and what the next generation will want.
It’s very likely that you either already have a few Gen Y in your office or will have a bunch in the near future. Here are a few tips to consider if you want them to perform their best and keep them engaged.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, even in a tough job market, 23% of recent college graduates wouldn’t take a job where they couldn’t make or take personal phone calls. Companies are becoming more and more flexible with their employees today. Netflix, for example, doesn’t track vacation days… for anyone. If you allow your employees to dress casually, make personal phone calls, and take an occasional day off, they will perform better when they are on the job. They will feel appreciated and valued in the company.
Let us know how we’re doing
For recent graduates it’s normal to receive feedback on almost everything you do. In school we get marks, comments, and feedback from teachers. Why does this change once we enter the workforce? Millennials have become accustomed to instant gratification or instant communication. In Time, Schwabel writes that 80% of millennials said they want regular feedback from their managers. Everyone wants to know how they’re doing and how they can improve. This will only develop your team in the long run and can take very little time!
Facebook senior exec and Millennial Molly Graham explains how important constant feedback is to help millennials and all coworkers grow. In a presentation at the HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas , Graham shared Facebook’s vision for aligning and engaging its Millennial workforce.
Transparency and an Open Door
The traditional hierarchical organization of the workplace doesn’t work anymore, especially with Gen Y. Millennials are looking for managers and leader who share almost everything with them. We like to be in the know… Schawbel explains it best: “Parents of millennials talked about everything in front of their children, from finances to sex, so millennials are comfortable with the same approach from businesses and managers.” Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot shared with us in a previous webinar his company’s “No Door Policy” Open Door Policy. There are literally no doors in the office which allows everyone to feel like and equal part of the team.
It’s Not Just About the Money
While most of use would like a well-paying job, giving recognition doesn’t always have to be about more money. According to a recent Forbes article, half of the millennials surveyed said money wasn’t important. Obviously money will always be a factor but giving simple public recognition can be a big motivational boost for employees everywhere.
If you foster a great culture and provide millennials with what they are used to, they will be productive and produce good results. Gen Ys in the workforce may seem young, but if you are selling or marketing a product targeted at younger people, millennials know what they want most. It may appear that we are demanding as a generation— but the only reason for all these needs is that we perform better in a comfortable and recognizable environment is necessary. As the world transforms, so the does the workplace. It’s important for organizations to be agile and ready to adapt to whatever comes next.
This post is part of The Future of Work, a series exploring the changing nature of work through articles, interactive media, and social discussion.