A 2018 Gallup study reported that 34% of the U.S employees were engaged, while 13% were actively disengaged. The remaining 53% falls under the ‘not engaged” category.
According to the report, this larger group doesn’t feel aligned with their current jobs. Hence, they could quickly leave their current job for a better offer.
Employee engagement is a measure of how passionate and excited employees are about their roles. Additionally, this trait reflects the relationship between employees and their managers, and even the employer.
It’s worth noting that several factors determine the level of employee engagement. However, some resonate well with a given group of employees. For example, 70% of millennials would leave a 9-5 job for a more flexible work option. In contrast, only 50% of older generations would do the same.
This shows that employee engagement varies, not only per individual taste and preferences but also generation-wise.
Why Millennial Engagement Matters
Unlike the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), millennial workers are more tech-savvy. They are also the largest generation in the U.S workforce. Therefore, every organization feels the pressure to engage this group to ensure maximum workplace productivity.
According to a study, millennials are 59 times more likely to recommend a company to their peers. But only if they are happy with their jobs. This means satisfied and engaged millennials employees will help market your company or business.
Another advantage of engaging this group of employees is to boost innovation in the workplace. A millennial generation is a digital-native group that can leverage the available resources to automate manual processes. This has the effect of increasing effectiveness and efficiency around the workplace.
Lastly, millennials who align with the company culture and feel valued will stay longer than other generations. Retaining such employees saves time and money and will boost your recruitment and retention efforts.
More than ever, HR professionals are keen to focus their engagement efforts on millennials without sidelining the other employees.
Millennial Employee Engagement Strategies
Below are a few engagement tips and best practices you need to consider to engage millennial employees successfully.
Listen so you can Understand Them.
At the heart of employee engagement is understanding their needs, wants, interests, fears, etc. For instance, an employee who is worried about job security may not perform to his/her level best. Likewise, an employee who lacks trust with the employer may disengage if a colleague is laid off.
Listening to your millennial employees allows you to gather useful insights into what drives their engagement. This includes what makes them feel productive and satisfied and how they want to be treated by their immediate supervisors.
Knowing how your employees view their roles can also help you with your talent mapping strategies. This way, you can match the employees to the positions they feel more confident and enthusiastic about. Remember, you can conduct these exercises through surveys or questionnaires or even during regular department meetings.
Rethink Your Company Culture
Organizational culture plays a critical role in every workplace. Encouraging a culture where socialization and transparency thrive means your employees will be more open about their workplace challenges.
Collaboration and team-work are the critical ingredients of thriving company culture. Employees who create a strong bond amongst themselves are more likely to collaborate and work on a common goal.
Meanwhile, you should have a program in place where employees can connect with the mentors they look up to. For instance, you can invite a workplace wellness expert to motivate and inspire your employees. The result is a team that appreciates your efforts and concern about their well-being.
Ensure a conducive Work Environment
A conducive work environment makes your employees feel comfortable and productive. Leading organizations motivate their workers by ensuring they have enough working space, good office furniture, clean drinking water, etc. Some even have kitchens, changing rooms, gyms, etc., just to create an office environment that’s more like a second home.
However, you don’t necessarily need to acquire all the luxuries for the sake of creating a conducive work environment. Little efforts such as assigning each employee a desk instead of the “hot-desking” system may have a significant impact. Another simple tweak that can boost engagement and productivity is allowing employees to use their headphones while working.
With that in mind, a conducive work environment goes beyond the physical. For example, a great work environment with all the amenities and resources will have no impact if employees don’t feel free or comfortable using them. To avoid such instances, ensure the relationship between managers and employees supports the culture you want to promote.
In fact, you should first start by promoting a positive work culture before working on your employees’ comfort. This isn’t to say that basic amenities such as air conditioners, water supply, etc., aren’t important.
Provide Flexible Work Schedules
Over the last couple of years, remote working has changed the way employees want to work. Many now consider flexible working hours a key determinant to accepting a job offer. In fact, 80% of millennials would be more loyal to an employer offering flexible working options. This is according to a Flex jobs study.
If your company doesn’t offer such flexible working conditions, you will definitely not compete for top talent.
The shift to remote is also making work-life balance a reality, and this is something most millennials are yearning for. Due to these changing trends in the recruitment landscape, flexibility is increasingly becoming a “must-have” for employers looking to attract and retain millennial talent.
Focus on Proper Communication
Millennials are active in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. One study shows that 71% of employees think it is okay to “friend” a coworker on Facebook.
By leveraging the available resources and social power to communicate with employees, you could boost your engagement efforts. For instance, celebrate their important life events such as birthdays or promotions via the company’s social networks. This will make them feel valued and recognized – more so, in a personal way.
Pay Attention to Employee Feedback
The high-level of diversity in the modern workplace – from baby boomers to Generation Z –makes it necessary to pay keen attention to employee feedback.
One study shows that 90% of employees would stay longer at a company that takes and acts on employee feedback. And to make this a success, you need to a strategy in place. Similarly, you need to ensure all stakeholders’ buy-in when looking to implement your employee feedback.
Reward and motivate
A PWC study found that 72% of millennials are attracted to a company that cares about their finances. On the contrary, 71% of Gen X and 45% of boomers shared the same idea.
Besides the level of compensation, steady salaries, and job security, millennials value career advancement and job satisfaction. Likewise, many wish to climb the corporate ladder and even advance to top leadership positions.
In fact, 36% of employees and nearly half of millennials would consider quitting a job that doesn’t provide learning opportunities. Therefore, career development is crucial to avoid the high cost of employee turnover.
Have Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives in Place
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are increasingly becoming necessary to remain competitive in the market. Best-in-class organizations are now keen to ensure their employees feel safe, valued, and respected.
DEI initiatives aren’t only necessary to attract top talent but also to drive workplace innovation and productivity. However, diversity without inclusion can be counterproductive.
For example, employing more minorities and women without giving them the platform to make an impact isn’t beneficial. The idea is to support diversity in the workplace by nurturing an inclusive culture.
Engaging millennials in the modern workplace can be challenging but no impossible. By implanting the above tips, your organization or business will benefit a lot from a highly-engaged team.
To summarize, remember millennial engagement starts with understanding what they need. You should pay attention to their feedback, ensure a collaborative culture, reward them, and ensure proper communication. Flexible working conditions and diversity are also crucial; however, you should couple this with inclusive company culture.