How can you engage and retain the millennial workforce? Gallup referred to millennials as the "job-hopping generation" and for good reason. Research found that 21 percent of millennials had changed jobs in the prior 12 months, and 50 percent of the job-hopping workforce planned on changing employers in the next 12 months. The research firm also found that lack of employee engagement was a major reason for the high turnover.
The numbers improved a bit as the economy continued to stabilize, and millennials grew another year older. However, the Deloitte Millennial Survey, which looked at 8,000 millennials in 30 countries, still found that 38 percent plan to change jobs within two years. Deloitte hypothesizes that this could be a sign of more corporate loyalty or less confidence in the job market. Either way, it is more important than ever for you to understand how to engage the millennial workforce.
Connect with the millennial workforce
Disengaged employees are not connected to their company and jobs, so they feel no need to be loyal or to put out the effort and energy employers need to stay innovative and competitive. The following are six things you should consider in order to engage and retain the millennial workforce.
1. Understand the full meaning of work-life balance
For millennials, work-life balance is about more than flexible schedules and working at home. The Millennial Impact Report makes it clear they want a voice and want to work for employers that integrate their social interests and causes into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies.
Millennials do not want to leave their causes at home. Encourage leaders to recognize employees that contribute to CSR through participation in company-sponsored community projects or volunteerism; also encourage employees to recognize each other. With an employee recognition program, employees’ voices get heard throughout the organization and each employee can receive appreciation for a job well done.
2. Incentivize with rewards millennials want
Millennials, like all employees, appreciate rewards. The younger generation of workers certainly appreciates financial rewards, but the millennial workforce also appreciates rewards like a day off to participate in community service projects of their choice. Combining financial and non-financial rewards proves you put in the effort to value your employees and are not just "talking the talk."
3. Give frequent meaningful feedback and stay connected
Clutch, a data-driven industry and marketing research company, surveyed millennials, Gen X and baby boomers concerning employee engagement. Their HR Employee Feedback Survey found that 40 percent of millennials did not feel fulfilled at work, compared to 20 percent of Gen X and 10 percent of baby boomers. There were many reasons for feeling unfulfilled, and they included a desire for non-traditional perks and a lack of regular employee feedback.
The Clutch survey found that 72 percent of millennials who do get regular employee feedback felt fulfilled. However, millennials are not engaged by traditional management communication systems. They want instant feedback that helps increase their connection to the organization. While it may seem challenging to meet all the needs of millennial employees, one way is through social recognition that offers the nontraditional, instant feedback.
4. Do not neglect your employees
After conducting 4,300 interviews of global executives and senior leaders in 29 countries, the Deloitte Millennial Survey found that two out of three millennials are expected to leave their current organization. However, they are not leaving because of the economic climate. Instead, millennials are leaving because they feel neglected. Six out of 10 say their leadership skills are not being developed, and they are overlooked by management.
5. Encourage regular input
MIT Sloan associate professor of work and organization studies, Catherine Turco, took an interesting approach to identify what motivates the millennial workforce. She went undercover as an employee at a social media marketing company that has developed a highly engaged workforce comprised of mostly millennials. In her book, "The Conversational Firm: Rethinking Bureaucracy in the Age of Social Media," this high level of employee engagement is attributed to the organization's culture.
At the marketing company, employees feel invested in the company and can offer regular input into business issues. Their sense of freedom contributes to a work culture that is "invested, innovative and adaptable to change."
6. Prove people, rather than profits, are most important
Everything about making millennials happy at work is based on putting people first. Making a profit is important for business sustainability, but the millennial workforce believes profit should flow from taking care of people. More profit is created when people collaborate, share values, and improve communities and the environment. The 'Triple Bottom Line' is ordered as people, planet and profits. People always come first.
Creating a work family
A survey of college-educated men and women conducted by Bentley University's Center for Women and Business discovered that 72 percent of respondents want to find a "work family" that practices mutual respect. Making the millennial workforce feel like they are part of a work family that encourages achievement is fostered through regular employee recognition and positive feedback.
The millennial workforce is not complicated. They just want to be their authentic selves at work. Start engaging the millennial workforce today with our six tips.
Are you curious about the current state of employee engagement? Learn shocking stats and findings in our Engagement and Retention Report.