With today’s generational shift in the workforce, what employers need to do in order to attract and retain top employees is changing. Millennials, also known as Generation Y (those who were born between 1982 and 1995), already make up more than one third of the workforce in Australia. By 2025, they’re expected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce.
With Generation Y projected to account for three out of every four workers in just a few years, it’s essential for employers to start understanding what millennials want from work, what they value and how to keep them engaged and motivated in their job.
Understanding millennials in the workplace
As with every generation, millennials have their own unique set of attitudes and characteristics that define how they approach work. Studies have shown that while Baby Boomers tend to put a high value on work ethic and job promotion and Generation X as a group prefer autonomy, millennials are more willing to collaborate and they appreciate recognition like the Boomer generation. However, what they expect from their bosses and their workplace relationships is far from traditional.
Millennials want mentors. They want their boss to offer regular feedback and support. Being involved in company issues is important to them – they don’t want to be left in the dark. Managing millennials has a lot to do with efficient, ongoing communication – internal company communications, face time with management and collaborative meetings, for example – supported by the digital channels they have grown up with.
The millennial generation is the most highly educated and tech-savvy group the global workforce has ever seen. Take advantage of their strengths. Keep them interested and inspired and your organisation has a lot to gain. Here are four tactics you can use to attract millennials to your workplace and keep them engaged.
1. Generation Y are digital natives
While older generations lived in an age before digital transformation, millennials have come of age in a time when social media, smart phones and being online 24/7 were already normal. As they have grown up consuming information through digital channels, they are comfortable working within a more tech-evolved framework, such as sharing work ideas via cloud platforms, working with the latest business SaaS platforms, being updated through email and SMS messaging and collaborating through virtual meetings.
This means if your organisation hasn’t fully embraced the digital transformation of business, you may have trouble retaining your millennial workers. As they are so familiar with these mediums, they are accustomed to the efficiency and fluid workflows which digital provides and may not enjoy moving backwards to cumbersome paperwork, boardroom meetings and other antiquated aspects of office culture.
2. The millennial generation values transparency
Both in the brands they engage with and the companies they work for, transparency and authenticity are key for millennials. They want less watered-down, more straightforward engagements and they tend to distrust businesses who are secretive about their activities.
A recent survey found millennials value straight talk and inclusiveness. To gain their trust and interest, make your company values, organisational structure, goals and objectives clear and accessible, and make sure your organisation is actually living up to these statements and standards.
3. Millennials prefer flexible work hours
Millennials don’t share the workaholic tendencies of the Boomers and older Gen X. This means work-life balance is something the millennial generation values above traditional metrics, such as salary. One study found millennials would take a $7,600 pay cut to get a better work-life balance.
With the technology that’s available today, companies can offer their employees greater flexibility without sacrificing productivity. By offering the ability to work from home and connect using video conferencing and conference calls, they can enjoy more of the freedom they want from an employer.
4. Motivate millennials in the workplace with recognition
Millennials are motivated by recognition. As this generation begins to dominate the workforce more, the days of the annual employee review are not going to cut it any longer. Employers will have to work harder to keep this generation engaged at work and to prevent them from leaving.
Incentive expert Rodney Mason from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions notes that, “Millennials are accustomed to attention and praise from their earliest days, and expect regular affirmation in the workplace.” Making a habit out of regular and immediate feedback, such as a simple one-on-one meeting, delivered either in-person or virtually, on a regular basis, can go a long way towards making your millennial workers feel valued.
Empower your business with millennial workers
Companies that make understanding millennials in the workplace a priority will appeal to this generation and will recruit the best workers.
To help set up your business for millennial success with more efficient communication platforms and a more flexible work environment, find out more about how easy it is to set up web, video and audio conferencing.