Millennials are, in my honest opinion, a much-maligned group with lots of negative comments about them feeling entitled, being self-centered, lazy, etc., etc.
But whatever we baby boomers or Generation X'ers think about Millennials they are now the largest group within the workforce and very quickly they will become the majority and those companies which can engage and motivate the Millennials will put their companies in a position to attract the top talents and retain them.
It's not an employees responsibility to be engaged; it's the companies leadership team which need to engage their employees.
Here are seven things that you can do to engage better with Millennials.
Make The Job About More Than Just Profits
92 percent of Millennials believe that business should be about more than just profits. We need to communicate a higher cause, highlighting how their work is benefiting people and the society, how it's helping to solve a problem. The more we can do this the more engaged they will become.
Connect With Them on Social Media
Millennials are the most connected generation, and over 70 percent having friended their manager and co-workers on social media. The better we can connect with them, make the feel included and connected to the company the more involved they will be. Too many bosses resist the request to connect, but when we refuse the connection, we reduce involvement which limits their commitment.
Create a Collaborative Working Environment
Many Millennials have grown up working on projects collectively and collaboratively, and this is a style of working that they understand and enjoy. Given that teamwork is an important aspect of building a high-performance organization, we should look to encourage and promote this style of working.
Be Flexible About Working Hours
The days of Monday to Friday nine to five working weeks are long gone and in many jobs, the need for all employees to be working the same hours just isn't there anymore. Some companies, and managers, persist with this approach because it makes it easier for them.
When we have flexible working hours it does need us to manage and lead differently, holding people accountable for outcomes rather than fixed attendance. It requires us to be more trusting too, which is also good for creating engagement as the more we show respect and trust for our teams the more they will show for us.
Allow Home Working Where possible
The same goes for onsite working too. In many jobs, the need for the teams to be in the office full-time is no longer there, especially for knowledge workers. Many companies I consult with see this as an issue, they'd like to have some flexibility in home working, but they don't want to give carte blanche to the employees. So rather than define a loose, flexible policy that accommodates some home working, which they see as possibly being open to abuse, it's easier to have a clear no home working policy.
Start small, if possible let people work from home one or two days a month, define some core hours that everyone needs to be there in case of meetings. Set up the right tools to allow collaboration, and see how it goes.
Leverage Social Media
Many companies look to ban social media in office hours, but given that most people have some for of social media access on the smartphones, this a stable door that is practically impossible to bolt. Instead, why not look to leverage social media, incorporate it, and benefit from it.
Give feedback Regularly Don't Just Wait For Annual Performance Reviews
No one really likes annual performance reviews, yes they serve a purpose, but most people like to have on the spot feedback, and in today's always on, always connected the world the demand for that type of feedback is higher than ever.
85 percent of Millennials say they would feel confident if they could have frequent conversations and feedback with their managers. Building employee confidence is a great way to help get and keep them motivated and enthusiastic. Also, what gets recognized gets repeated which means building a culture of recognition is a great way to help improve performance.
We live in fast-paced, ever-changing world and if we want to keep our teams engaged and motivated we need to change and adapts our management styles and practices to engage with our teams.
If you want to attract, retain and engage the best Millennial talent, then create a great working environment. One that incorporates flexible hours and working locations, that focuses on building collaborative and connected teams, that give regular feedback and can show it's not just about profits. If you can do that then you will be able to get the best out of the majority of the working population.
What is your company doing to help engage Millennials? I'd love to hear from you.