Whether you like it or not, millennials are already the largest segment in the workplace.
According to a recent study by MRI, millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.
Even more shocking, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2030, that number will increase to 75%.
Learning how to keep millennials engaged in today’s workplace can be a challenge.
But don’t worry. Below we will share five key tips to keep millennials engaged.
1. Encourage Employee Socialization
Employee socialization is key for millennials in today’s workplace.
Millennials are social beings. Have you heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.?
According to a survey by MarketingSherpa, 95% of 18-34 year old’s use social media.
While the point is not to encourage the use of social media in the workplace, these stats should exhibit the social nature of millennials.
Encouraging employee socialization means fostering a work environment that people actually want to be at.
Some easy ways to do this include:
- Team lunches. Whenever a new employee is hired on your team, take the entire team out to lunch.
- Team meetings. In addition to 1-on-1 meetings, meet with the entire team to brainstorm ideas, share wins/losses, etc. Not only will this encourage socialization, but it will give your team members a designated time to have their voices heard by management.
- Team exercises. Are you creating contests/SPIFFs where team members are required to work together? The prize can be something as small as a $25 Amazon gift card but the bonding your team members will experience will be priceless.
2. Promote Work-Life Balance
I’m sure you have heard of work-life balance before. But what does it really mean?
Work-life balance is defined by BusinessDictionary as “a comfortable state of equilibrium achieved between an employee’s primary priorities of their employment position and their private lifestyle.”
That’s a fairly broad definition. But it’s important to note that a healthy work-life balance does not come with a one-size-fits-all solution.
If you want to know how to promote work-life balance with millennial employees at your organization, here’s a tip…
Ask your employees!
Everybody will have a different definition of work-life balance. Here are some possibilities of work-life balance that your employees may enjoy:
- Flexibility to work from home when needed. Whether a kid is sick, a service professional is needed at the house, or driving conditions are poor, giving your employee some flexibility to work from home can go a long way.
- Ability to take vacation time without feeling guilty. Did you know that some companies will actually pay their employees to take vacations? CEO Mark Douglas of SteelHouse pays each employee $2,000 a year to go anywhere in the world. He says it pays for itself because his employees come back more productive than ever.
- True 40-hour work weeks (or less). Many companies expect 50, 60, even 80-hour work weeks from their employees. Millennials are all about efficiency. If they can get the same amount of work done in 30 hours that their manager expected them to complete in 40+ hours, why should they stay at the office? Providing specific daily/weekly goals for your employees and allowing them the flexibility to complete these goals on their timeframe will display trust and encourage a healthy work-life balance.
3. Provide A Sense Of Purpose
While this stands true for just about any generation (not just millennials), work without a sense of purpose can lack fulfillment.
You don’t have to be a “green” company to get millennials on board.
You don’t have to donate a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes you sell.
Any company no matter what product or service you provide can promote a sense of purpose for their millennial employees.
Often times this can be done simply by explaining how the employee’s particular role impacts the organization.
Without sales, there is no business. Without the finance team crunching numbers, the bills won’t get paid and the lights won’t stay on.
Each team member plays a unique role in growing the business.
Acknowledge them for the work they do, and the impact they are making, even if they are just one fish in a giant ocean.
4. Constantly Coach/Mentor
Millennials believe in constant learning and improvement.
A great manager with is constantly training and coaching his/her employees will improve retention and build loyalty.
Be careful not to mistake coaching with micromanaging.
Millennials more than any generation do not want to be micromanaged.
Here’s the difference between coaching and micromanaging in a nutshell.
-Training involves assigning a task based on the employee’s skill set, providing them with the proper tools and advice to succeed, and then backing off – providing autonomy for your employee to do the work.
-Micromanaging involves assigning a task based on the employee’s skill set, providing them with the proper tools and advice to succeed, and then standing over their shoulders, pointing out each and every mistake they make.
Nobody appreciates a micromanager. But everyone can appreciate a true mentor.
5. Foster A Fun Office Environment
You’ve probably seen it before.
The image of a Bay Area startup with the ping-pong tables, fully stocked kitchen, video games, and bouncy balls for chairs.
While these shouldn’t be the primary reasons someone comes to work, it sure can make getting out of bed in the morning easier.
Fostering a fun office environment encourages your staff to stay creative, socialize with coworkers, and adds to the overall culture.
Employees feel appreciated when their company is willing to go the extra-mile on office perks.
In short, millennials are not all that different from other generations.
- Millennials enjoy personal relationships with the people they spend time with.
- Millennials enjoy life outside of work and prefer a company that enables this.
- Millennials want to do good and make a positive impact on their company.
- Millennials prefer constant growth. If they feel unchallenged, they may leave.
- Millennials believe work can be fun and something to look forward to.
(For more tips on working with millennials, check out Preparing for a Millennial Work Environment.)