Driving Engagement with Millenials

by Allan Peretz

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, businesses with higher employee satisfaction rates have much higher customer satisfaction, profit, and productivity rates. It’s no secret that companies hoping to gain a competitive edge should focus on employee motivation and engagement. For managers leading teams of millennials, understanding this age group is key if you want to make the most of their unique outlook and skillsets. Millennials are those born between 1982 and 2004 and have now passed boomers as the largest living generation in the United States . Out of all of the living generations, these 18-35 year olds have the highest education and, of course, the highest internet usage.

If you’re leading teams of millennials, you probably already know that they see the workplace a little differently:

  • Unlike their parents, millennials aren't willing to sacrifice quality of life for a little more money.
  • They graduated just in time for the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis. This event impacted their psyche in dramatic ways.
  • On average, millennials have more student debt than any other previous generation. They are under pressure.

Unfortunately, managers sometimes fail to appreciate what millennials bring to the table . This educated and productive generation is often misunderstood. Many see millennials are lazy, entitled job hoppers. But it turns out, however, that a quarter of them took no time off in 2016. Millennials are well aware of the stereotypes that they're lazy, and if anything, many are wary about taking their vacation time.

Understanding Millennials Leads to Engagement

Millennials are pretty complicated but they're also hard workers- as long as they believe that their managers understand them.  Here are a few things you should know about millennials to increase employee motivation and engagement:

They Value their Time:

We all know that employees hate it when they're contacted outside of work time or continually asked to work late but millennials also value efficiency. That means that once a task is completed, they're ready to move on. If they complete the task ahead of schedule, they see no reason why they should have to "wait around" until the clock hits 5 pm. By giving Millennials a little flexibility in where and how they do their work, you'll gain a whole lot of trust.

They Want to Believe:

That's right-- millennials are invested in your company. It may be contrary to popular belief, but millennials do care about what's going on and want their organizations to do well. Producing widgets isn't enough... Make sure you explain the "bigger good" that your company delivers to others.

Millennials also want to feel valued. That means showing that you trust them by letting them know about the company's direction and consulting them on key decisions. Sure, you may decide to go another way but at least they were heard.

They Love to Learn:

Learning on the job allows millennials to feel like they're growing both personally and professionally. Want to keep your millennial staff engaged and enthusiastic about the company? Provide them with opportunities to upskill and to increase their market worth.

Many of this generation's parents and grandparents spent their entire working lives working for one company. This is now a rarity. Savvy Millennials know that they need to be ready for "the next thing" whenever it occurs.

They Don't See "The Workplace" as You Do:

The old 9-5 method of working is becoming outdated, and this is largely due to changes that have occurred as Millennials entered the workforce. Boomers are used to the traditional workday and office environment while millennials are more likely to prefer a flexible approach. Managers wanting to keep millennials on the side should have a results-based focus.

They Crave Recognition:

Often, managers just expect that employees are continually doing their best and keeping the success of the company front of mind. While most millennials do, they also need to be acknowledged for their engagement and hard work. For managers who aren’t used to showing appreciation, this can be challenging. However, by recognizing their work, you'll be rewarded with loyal, motivated employees.