7 Tips for Employing (and keeping) Millennials
There are an estimated 80 million young Americans who belong to the so-called millennial generation, roughly ages 18 to 35. By next year, they are expected to comprise 36% of the U.S. workforce, and by 2020, millennials will be nearly half of all workers.
While millennials are the most educated and culturally diverse of any generation before them, they’re also notorious job-hoppers who dislike bureaucracy and distrust traditional hierarchies—leaving many business leaders scratching their heads.
What motivates this rising cohort? How do you keep them engaged, earn their trust and get the most out them?
Leadership and millennial experts weighed in with a few surprising—and surprisingly easy—ways to inspire millennial workers.
Explain The Company Vision
“If you can explain the whole picture, it connects the meaning to the person,” says Jeremy Kingsley, leadership expert and author of Inspired People Produce Results. Millennial workers are more likely to look for meaning and impact in their work and aren’t satisfied simply punching a clock.
Helping them understand their role in a larger plan gives them a clearer sense of purpose. ”It makes them feel valued, which in turn boosts productivity,” says Kingsley.
Prioritize Community Service
A comprehensive study by the Pew Research Center in 2010 found that millennials place a higher priority on helping people in need (21%) than having a high-paying career (15%). Dan Epstein, the CEO of business consultancy ReSource Pro who has a staff comprised of 90% millennials, says allowing employees to form committees and use company resources or time to organize their causes meets their desire for social consciousness.
Whether it’s weekends with Habitat for Humanity or time off to run in charity marathons, the company’s encouragement helps them feel good about the company. “In order to tap into their creative energy,” Epstein says, “we need to be respectful of the things they care about.”
Develop In-Between Steps And Titles
More than their Baby Boomer parents or Gen X older siblings, millennials are especially eager to progress in their careers and less willing to wait three to five years for a promotion. “By developing in-between steps and titles, managers can meet their desire for career progression,” says Epstein. “It also provides incremental training and experience that will aid them later with larger career advancement opportunities.”
Give Encouragement And Regular Feedback
“This generation responds well to encouragement and immediate feedback,” says Kingsley. “People need to know they’re being noticed.” The good news? It’s free. A simple “thank you,” “congratulations” or honest, supportive feedback from a manager can make all the difference, fueling their motivation to produce results. While the millennial generation has been criticized as being needy or wanting undue rewards, Kingsley says there’s a balance to be found. Make it clear from the beginning that you reward good work, and then keep an open line of communication to let them know how they’re doing and how they can improve.
Offer More Flexibility
Work-life balance is one of the most significant drivers of employee retention among millennials. This tech-savvy generation is essentially able to work anytime from anywhere with an Internet connection. Thus, seemingly arbitrary work hours or having to sit at a desk all day is less appealing to them.
A 2012 study of the generation by Griffith Insurance Education Foundation discovered that millennials will sacrifice pay for increased vacation time and the ability to work outside the office. Offering flexible scheduling, occasional telecommuting or even unlimited vacation time—provided performance remains consistent—can meet their desire for flexibility while also showing your trust.
Provide Education And Professional Development
According to a 2012 survey by staffing agency Adecco, 68% of recent graduates identified good opportunities for growth and development as one of their top professional priorities. “Most in this group are hungry and want to advance,” says Kingsley. “If you do not provide development, it’s like a slap in the face.” Assigning stretch projects, bringing in speakers or sending employees to leadership conferences will be especially helpful for those millennial workers interested in learning and growing their skills.
Give Them Time For Personal Projects
“On a regular basis, allow team members to work on whatever they want,” says Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders, a non-profit dedicated to youth leadership development. Progressive companies like 3M and Google have had success offering employees time to work on a project of their choosing, helping them feel more engaged and in control and also boosting innovation within the company. “This allows young employees to take initiative, be creative and produce something on their own.”
To turn these techniques into actionable realities within your organization, please make time in your schedule for a free, one-to-one consultation with Simon. Call us today at (440)-385-6737!