Baby boomers and millennials tend to be worlds apart. As millennials grow in the workforce and boomers retire, it’s essential for employers and human resource professionals to understand what motivates the millennial generation if they want to engage them and retain them.
Millennials do have a reputation for job-hopping, but it’s more likely a reaction to a working world where organisations tend to be less nurturing of their staff. Millennials are well-educated, technologically skilled, self-confident and energetic, but their potential will remain untapped if they aren’t properly valued or incentivised. In today’s working environment you should be able to leverage off your HR systems to promote job satisfaction amongst your employee base (especially your millennials). Here are some factors to consider.
1. Offer flexibility and personal time
Mobile technology has made workforces more flexible and no longer limited by the confines of their desks or the traditional nine-to-five workday. Millennials tend to be more comfortable with this work pattern than their older employers. To them, a healthy work/life balance is a top priority when they start a new job. Companies that offer flexible schedules will have a better chance of retaining millennial talent. Let them work remotely on occasion if it suits them and try to allow for extra time in their schedules for training, volunteering, or taking a short break.
2. Provide frequent feedback
Contrary to popular thinking, millennials don’t need constant praise, but they do appreciate frequent engagement on their performance. Bi-annual performance reviews don’t cut it. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it must be honest and constructive, and should ideally be done face-to-face. Consider an open-door policy and encourage workers to come forward with any concerns or questions.
3. Create intermediary steps
Millennials are just as career-driven as previous generations, but tend to be especially sensitive to being pigeonholed or getting stuck in a dead-end job. You can overcome this by amplifying their sense of career progression. Unearned promotions or rewards are counter-productive, but consider incentivising incremental progress wherever possible. Set achievable targets and offer small bonuses for a career progression step like completing a training course.
4. Create a culture of embracing fun (but keep the balance)
Modern organisations should strive for a less stiff and formal culture and aim to be relaxed and accommodating. It’s important to encourage open communications and a culture of sharing ideas, and not only for the sake of millennials. Team outings and activities are a great way to foster a personable work environment. You will also do well to provide a recreational space in the office.
5. Provide opportunities
Millennial employees will be disgruntled if they aren’t given the opportunities to make real career progress. Ensure that they have access to in-house training materials, send them to conferences or seminars and regularly facilitate opportunities for them to upskill and progress.
6. Grab their interest early
When taking on new millennial employees, aim to speak to the things that motivate and inspire them. It’s important to convey the value the company places on career development, and to instil the company’s core beliefs during the recruiting and onboarding process. Millennials tend to be socially and environmentally conscious, so discuss the company’s corporate social responsibility too.