March 14, 2017
One-third of today’s American workforce is made of Millennials – adults born between roughly the early 1980s and late 1990s.
If it seems like this younger generation operates differently than previous generations, it’s because they do. Studies show that Millennials care less about money and assuming authority than incumbents and employees past. They place higher value on collaboration, and making impacts in their organizations and the world.
It’s a fundamental shift that has seasoned managers contemplating how to effectively retain, develop, and lead their up-and-coming workforce.
Luckily, the factors that motivate Millennials are generally cost-effective and within reach. While they require little overhead, they do call for shifts in thinking. Here are three steps you can take to engage, galvanize, and retain Millennials on your team:
Offer Practical, Empowering Training and Development
The 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that 63% of Millennials feel as though their leadership skills are underdeveloped. Surveys also report that Millennial workers value training and development three times more than they value cash bonuses. To retain this group, invest in quality, practical training programs that keep them growing and engaged. Make sure these programs aren’t just verbose reiterations of processes and protocol. Meaningful takeaway with tangible results is the secret ingredient.
Acknowledge Their Efforts
Millennials are sometimes dubbed the “trophy generation” – that is, they expect acknowledgement and affirmation for effort, regardless of results. It turns out they’re not alone: Gallup Reports show that workers across generations are more than twice as engaged at work when they receive regular supervisor feedback. Use consistent feedback to retain – and, whenever applicable, affirm – all employees. If affirmation regularly feels like a stretch, larger operational assessments and shifts might be needed.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Leaders tend to project their own experiences onto younger team members. However, greater results emerge when leaders understand that what motivates Millennials might not match what motivates you. Understanding or at least acknowledging differences in priorities enables leaders to better engage Millennials – a positive step toward long-term retention. Gallup reports that 60% of Millennials believe they will not work for the same company in one year. When a leader understands what motivates and drives Millennials, a greater likelihood exists that the Millennial employee will stay invested – and stay onboard.