Talent Management

Boosting engagement with Millennials

A Pinch of Poison in Your Company Culture Can Be Deadly

Many companies today struggle with the same challenge: How to create and sustain engagement with the Millennial workforce.

This poses a major risk. Currently, more than one-third of the U.S. workforce consists of Millennials—that is, employees in the 18-34 age group¹. By the year 2020, that number is expected to climb to 46 percent². Moreover, this generation is increasingly moving into positions of responsibility, including management. If you’re not actively working to engage Millennials, you may be jeopardizing your company’s future.

The key is understanding that Millennials have very different values and expectations in the workplace compared to previous generations. Here are some ways to get and keep them engaged in your organization:

Understand what motivates them. Millennials are self-confident and achievement oriented. They respect diversity. On the job, they seek independence and autonomy, challenge, variety and a fun, communal workplace. They expect the opportunity to develop their professional skills while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Speak their language. Communicate in ways that Millennials will hear and understand, such as via text or through social media platforms. Use humor when appropriate, and don’t talk down to Millennials, especially when providing corrective feedback.

Provide ongoing feedback. Having grown up in a social media world, Millennials see feedback as a way of life. They expect to give it as well as receive it. Provide daily acknowledgement of their contributions, or redirect them immediately if they need to do something different. Offer leadership development where appropriate. Millennials don’t necessarily know how to give effective feedback, so your coaching and guidance in this area is critical.

Regardless of their age or generation, most employees want the same things in order to feel a part of the organization:

• Respect and trust from their managers
• Clarity of job expectations
• To be heard and understood
• To be accepted for their unique value
• To be acknowledged for their contributions

If you treat Millennials with respect, you will end up with an engaged workforce committed to helping your organization win.


¹ https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/
² https://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/executive-development/customprograms/~/media/DF1C11C056874DDA8097271A1ED48662.ash

Category: Talent Management

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Holly Green About the Author: Holly Green

Holly is CEO of THE HUMAN FACTOR Inc., and guides leaders and their organizations in achieving greater success by teaching you to leverage your brain and the brains of others at work.

  1. I’ve seen lots of numbers kicked around on what size millennials will represent in the workforce – the reality is that it will be significant. Almost every client I have across the country is struggling with this issue. Engagement of not just millennials is horrific. How can companies hope to attract and keep outstanding people if they are unwilling to work at engagement?

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