How to Successfully Manage and Engage Millennials in the Workplace

Drake Editorial Team

Adjusting your attraction and engagement practices is crucial. 44 per cent of millennials, if given a choice, expect to leave their current employer in the next two years, according to a 2019 Deloitte global survey.

Finding out what is important to millennials in their personal and work life should be your focus. It’s critical that your hiring practices to entice them to join you, and your engagement strategies to help you retain them, is built on this knowledge.

What is Important for Millennials Believe in the Workplace

What exactly is important to millennials in the workplace? Drake New Zealand interviewed Connor, a recent graduate from The University of Auckland.

“Our job is not our life,” said Connor. He shared his personal thoughts and the discussions he has had with his friends.

Connor’s Thoughts on the Workplace:

  • We find joy outside work.
  • Work is a way to have fun now and for the future.
  • We don’t say: ‘I want to work for that particular company’ but rather I want that job in that field.
  • We are dedicated to our job and field but not dedicated to the company.
  • We don’t see a job as being with a company from start to finish.
  • If we don’t like one company, we join another.
  • There is little guidance counselling in school so choosing the right career path can be difficult. Mentors and guidance would have helped.
  • One friend likes his company a lot because it is welcoming to the LGBTQ community. Because of this culture, he feels more loyal.
  • Many companies don’t tend to bring staff together for fun times, so we must plan our own get togethers which are important to us.

Connor also addressed the financial side of work and personal life:

  • There is a huge drive to get educated because not only is there a stigma if you don’t, but you just can’t get a decent job anymore without higher education.
  • We chase education for years, take out loans and rack up debt so making money is very important to us.
  • We have high monthly expenses, especially when considered as a proportion of recent graduate’s wages.
  • We will go into marriages with debt.
  • We all know we are replaceable, so we don’t want to ask for benefits and an increase in salary.

Connor and his friends may not be speaking for all millennials. However, these comments are noteworthy and something to think about with the millennials on your team and those you are trying to attract and retain.

Whether we are talking about the millennials, Gen X (1965 -1980), or baby boomers (1944 -1964), there is one key element shared by all: engagement is directly linked to productivity. And according to The McKinsey Global Institute, this can be as much as 20-25%.

How to Keep Millennials Engaged in the Workforce

Keeping millennials engaged in the workforce can be a challenge. Here are some ways to keep millennials motivated in your company.

  1. Offer the latest technology. They are beyond being technologically savvy.
  2. Guide their personal development and advancement (87% of millennials say that job development is important according to a Gallup report).
  3. Provide mentorship. Assign a senior employee to each new millennial.
  4. Ask for their ideas and involve them in making their job and workday productive and fun. They want to enjoy their workplace and connect with their co-workers inside and outside the office.

The multi-generational workforce is the standard today and engagement is still the main factor that drives productivity. A ‘one size fits all’ approach no longer works. Companies need to get a handle on what is important to each group.

See: How to Manage the Generational Shift

How to Keep Gen X Engaged in the Workforce

To keep GenXers engaged, managers should aim to:

  1. Involve them in decision-making. They are problem-solvers.
  2. Encourage their independence (they were used to self-managing growing up).
  3. Provide the feedback they crave and emphasize their accomplishments.
  4. Give them the responsibility to help shape your organisation.
  5. Understand their need for flexibility managing a household and raising children.

How to Keep Baby Boomers Engaged in the Workplace

We also can’t forget the baby boomers. They have decades of organisational knowledge you need to capture. So, engagement may not be the challenge, but succession planning is.

  1. Get your house in order and start identifying what skill shortages will need to be replenished. Middle management is usually where institutional knowledge lies.
  2. Create recruitment and hiring strategies aimed at finding candidates with similar skills and talents.
  3. Make their valuable expertise available to younger, high-potential managers through corporate mentoring programs.
  4. Blend their ideas and viewpoints with others by creating inter-generational teams and partnerships to build overall knowledge.

The key to generations working together positively is understanding what is important to each group. Talk to your employees and find out what motivates them and incorporate their responses in your strategic planning. It takes skilled managers to guide multi-generational teams.

Discover how Drake International’s portfolio of Talent Management Solutions solves your people productivity and performance issues by clicking here.


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