Millennials now make up about half the workforce in the United States, but many managers are unsure of how best to fulfill their needs. In today’s tight labor market, you can’t afford to get it wrong. Millennial employees know they have options, and they are not as committed as past generations to remaining with the same employer long-term. So if you want to keep them on staff, you’ll need to find a way to keep them engaged at work. Here are a few tips.
Be Honest About Salary
The current housing market isn’t easy for anyone, and many millennials feel trapped under mountains of student debt. Salary is not necessarily their primary driver, but they have good reasons to be concerned about their financial security. So bring up pay rates early in the hiring process, including information about how raises and bonuses are determined. Then keep the conversation going once they are hired. Honesty and transparency are common values for this generation, and they will start to disengage if they feel like pay rates are shrouded in secrecy.
Focus on Diversity
Millennials are arguably the most diverse and accepting generation in history. They tend to be passionate about equity and inclusion, and they likely won’t stay long in a work culture that doesn’t prioritize these values. Make sure you have people from all walks of life at every level of your company. Create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) council drawn from both front-line workers and senior managers, and take their initiatives seriously. Be willing to listen to your employees’ concerns and approach problems with an open mind.
Provide Flexible Work Options
Large and small companies are implementing return-to-office policies after the Covid-19 pandemic. But is it really necessary for everyone to be on-site full-time? Millennial employees place high value on flexibility, and they tend to be more engaged when they feel like they are trusted to manage their own time. Consider offering fully-remote or hybrid options whenever possible, along with flexible work schedules.
Making this change will also help you offer something else that is important to Millennials: results-driven management. Rather than logging seat time, focus on the output. If the work is getting done on time and on budget, and it meets your standards, don’t stress out about where and when it was completed.
Prioritize Work-Life Balance
It’s not just about flexibility. Millennial employees also want the ability to disconnect outside of work hours. Consider setting core hours during which team members should be available for meetings and phone calls. Then encourage them not to check work messages at night or on weekends. Offer plenty of paid vacation time and create a culture in which taking that time off is expected.
Maintain a Startup Mentality
Whether your company is tiny or multinational, maintaining a startup mentality is key to keeping Millennials engaged. They have big ideas and big dreams, and they want their work to truly matter. Empower them to make decisions. Ask for feedback. Give them the opportunity to experience lots of different aspects of the company. Assign them to manage various projects. Encourage cross-departmental collaboration. This growth mentality will help Millennials feel like they matter. And one of their ideas might just turn out to be your company’s next big thing.
Offer Employee Development
Today’s young professionals have grown up in a world that is constantly shifting and evolving. They know the value of lifelong learning and are always interested in boosting their skills. Find ways to promote this type of development by offering classes, job shadowing, and other pathways for them to further their careers. This is a win-win for both you and your team members, as it will provide an ongoing pipeline of well-qualified candidates who are ready to move up the ladder as positions become available.
Millennial employees have high expectations and a lot of ambition. They aren’t content to do the same thing day in and day out for years on end. They want to learn and grow, to be part of something larger than themselves, and ultimately to help change the world. And they know that there are plenty of jobs to be had. So they won’t stick around long at a company that makes them feel stifled. If you want to keep Millennials engaged at work, you’ll need to promote a diverse and transparent work culture that truly values everyone’s contributions and gives them a chance to shine. Managing Millennials isn’t always easy, but the results can be transformative for your company.
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