So how can you keep things interesting for Millennial talent? In order to engage us, it’s important that you understand us. Managers, marketers and even Law-Makers have spent a lot of time, and even more money trying to get to grips with exactly what Millennials want from work, from products, from life. It must be noted that while demographics are often analysed as one, no two humans are the same and so not every characteristic will be true of every Millennial you meet. That being said, on a more general level, as Millennials, we are often viewed as being confident, having high expectations and hungering for purpose (Howe and Strauss, 2007). Whether you love or loathe these qualities, what is important is that you accept them, as the global workforce will be 50% Millennial by 2020 (Gallup 2016). Therefore, if you want to futureproof your business, you must place a focus on Millennial engagement, retention and employer branding, to ensure you continue to attract us. So, what are the best ways to keep a Millennial’s attention?
Create A Brand Connection
Arguably the most critical element of retaining Millennial talent, is to strike a connection between the individual and organisational objectives. This is because while Gen X and Baby Boomers (predecessors of Millennials) focused on how they could advance the business within which they work, Millennials focus on how they can advance their own careers and interests. Therefore, the only way to truly boost retention and productivity is to ensure your team feel an emotional alignment with your company’s vision and values, and that they see their personal objectives and the organisational objectives progressing in the same direction.
Maintain Horizontal Fluidity
We Millennials have a great respect for those who came before us, no, not our managers, our parents! After all, it was our parents who empowered us to enjoy this braizen confidence and absence of glass ceilings. Therefore, it is not uncommon that Millennials go to certain universities, study certain subjects and as a result end up in certain careers because we think that is the path our parents have dreamed of for us. So, oftentimes you may have a team member who is like a fish out of water, and is clearly extremely talented, but maybe at something different entirely. You must take this opportunity to prioritise organisation over team, and rather than the usual square peg, round hole scenario, and consider where this person may be able to contribute in a more fulfilling and useful way somewhere else within the business.
The most common complaint I hear when I reach out to Millennials within an organisation is “I know I am just a number here” and nothing grates on us more. We know we have something to add, especially to decisions which ultimately affect us. It is important to give your team the platform to involve themselves, to contribute to organisational decisions, such as moving office space, company events and recruitment drives, as we may actually be the missing puzzle piece of information you haven’t considered, or at least can add some thought-provoking ideas! In the end, your leadership team will make the ultimate decision however the important thing is that we have been asked, and not written off as having nothing to offer to the discussion.
Of course, there are many more ways to engage Millennials in the workplace, whether you choose to implement extra Learning and Development, empower us to improve our soft-skills, or let us work on our clock, the important thing is that you get to grips with our culture. Know what is important to us, where we get our information and how we value our network. Millennial retention is fast-becoming a challenge your business cannot afford to avoid.
If you have any questions regarding Millennial engagement or anything else from the article, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org