Updated: Feb 19, 2020
More lists! Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. They are between the ages of 23 and 38, and they have radically changed the way we work. Instead of criticizing them for their differences, Baby Boomer and Gen X managers can remember that we raised them to have the values and lifestyles they have. Now, we have to live with them in the workplace.
Here are five things you can do to recruit and retain Millennial talent, who are critical to the future of your business.
1. Meaningfully engage them.
Gallup reports that 55% of Millennials are disengaged at work, and 16% are actively (and dangerously) disengaged. Keep your Millennial employees engaged by giving them meaningful responsibilities, access to key projects, invitations to meetings with company leaders, and chances to interact with clients.
I see some older managers resisting this and my hypothesis is that Gen Xers and Boomers wanted this level of engagement when we were junior but were not given it. We were told that we have to pay our dues. Today, it is an acceptable and expected practice to give young workers responsibility and access. That is change and progress.
2. Make staying worth their while.
Improve your company's incentive program, especially if it is a relic of a bygone era. Millennials won't stick around 20 years for the promise of a gold watch. Nearly two in five Millennials want their company's current incentive program bettered, according to a study by Aon Hewitt and O.C. Tanner. Examine all of your practices and ask your employees what they want instead of assuming you know. A big trend right now is providing a choice between providing a matching contribution in a 401K and providing a matching payment to pay down student debt.
3. Facilitate mobility.
Provide avenues for employee mobility across divisions and encourage movement. Millennials may be quicker than previous generations to leave a company for a better opportunity, but not because they want to—a recent study by Bridge found that almost 90% of Millennials are looking to grow their careers within their current companies.
4. Provide ample feedback.
Don’t just poll employees, listen to what they are saying. The old "periodic performance review" model doesn't work for Millennials, who want more regular and more meaningful feedback from employers. In a TriNet survey, 74% of Millennials said they frequently feel in the dark about how their managers and peers think they are performing at work.
5. Spot and groom junior leaders.
Provide significant opportunities for young leaders to oversee projects, supervise employees and handle budgeting, with oversight from mentors who can teach them best practices. And be open to the concept of reverse mentoring, whereby younger employees share important experiences and knowledge from their generational perspective with management. It makes Millennial and Gen Z employees feel more valued and engaged at work.
If you want to learn more, I give an interesting corporate talk based on my upcoming book, “Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace.” It explores the different styles of the five generations currently in the workforce, talks about human beings' resistance to change, and provides solutions for what companies can do to adopt, innovate and grow. You can reach us through the contact section of our website.
Also, please join our mailing list for updates on my upcoming book and to be alerted to new blog posts. You can also check out my LinkedIn profile for posts with interesting information on how to navigate the cultural revolution.