This post is from my friends at Socialmonsters.org. Although this article talks about younger workers many of the things mentioned in this post also apply to other workers in all age groups.
Forty-six percent of the workforce will be comprised of millennials by 2020. This may be an unsettling thought for some employers and businesses. Millennials, or Generation Y, represent those who were born in the 1980s through the early 2000s. They’re also the first generation to grow up never knowing the world without the Internet. They were raised with boundless technology at their fingertips, with Google searches and smartphones, and they think and work differently than the generations that came before them. They are the present and they are the future, and that’s why businesses must utilize specific techniques to hire and retain this tech-driven generation. So how do you go about engaging and maintaining this unique employee?
Offer Opportunities for Fast Growth
Many millennials reject the traditional concept of putting in years of commitment and dedication at a lowly job before making any progress or gaining anything in the way of personal development. Advancement in work culture needs to happen fairly quickly or you run the risk of your employees looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Encourage Collaboration with Peers
Gen Y members are highly social creatures and crave collaboration both with co-workers and with leadership. Allow them to work with each other on projects and check in with them frequently — not to oversee their work, but to praise their progress. Plan weekly meeting requesting updates from your collaborators. Regular meetings can boost morale and productivity with this generation of workers. And with all sincerity, ask them what you can do to assist.
Don’t Manage — Empower
Millennials have been raised with a different concept of authority, so they most likely won’t respond when you cast an iron fist at them. Instead of having hard-nosed managerial teams, develop cross-functional teams whose members work congruently together to create a sense of cohesion. In an environment where each millennial feels that his or her role is important, then each employee should feel empowered.
Much more than generations that came before, Generation Y has an intense need to be recognized and appreciated. Remember, this is the “everyone gets a trophy” generation, and through no fault of their own, they have been taught to expect positive reinforcement, so it’s positive reinforcement that works.
But even though millennials need frequent praise, they do not need to be drowned in it. Since much of this need stems from a fear of failure, a simple acknowledgment of a job well done will suffice, and with moderate praise comes quality work and employee retention. Seventy-five percent of employees who receive even informal recognition at least once a month at their jobs said they feel satisfied.
Considered non-traditionalists when it comes to the work-week, millennials prefer flexibility in scheduling. Some may prefer to begin their shifts later, others earlier. Millennials see little reason to be in the office when much of the work can be completed from home. Additionally, allowing millennials more flexibility in when and where they work would certainly improve engagement and retention.
More businesses should implement a program like Aspect’s Workforce Management Software, which can seamlessly accommodate companies through digital schedule functionality, then this kind of flexibility can be monitored and benefit the company as a whole.
Though Millennials may sometimes seem like they’re from a distant planet, it just takes a little patience and understanding. Change can be frightening, and in this young generation, it is possible that we’re seeing the beginning of the biggest change we have ever seen — progress. Use these strategies to appeal to and create a well-more engaged group of Gen Y-ers entering the workforce.