“Millennials- The Me Me Me Generation” is the title of a Time column from 2013 in which Joel Stein, a culture writer, described Millennials as “lazy, entitled, selfish, and shallow;” however, is this really the case?
According to Gallup, Millennials are a job-hopping generation, with 29% engaged at work, 16% actively disengaged, and 55% aren’t engaged, which is a statistic that doesn’t put Gen Y in a good light.
Another survey has shown that 62% of Millennials believe it’s possible to have a lasting career in today’s workforce.
So, it’s time to dispel the stereotypes about Gen Yers in the workplace and understand how to keep them happy and productive.
Money does matter to Millennials, but not at the expense of other things in life.
A sense of purpose is even more important to Gen Y than a big, fat paycheck at the end of the month.
Millennials want their job to bring them fulfillment, as well as a chance to contribute to an idea or cause bigger than themselves and that’s something that motivates them more than money.
To make your company appealing to the soon-to-be largest generation in the US, it’s crucial that your corporate culture is not only oriented around making money but also dedicated to improving and contributing to the entire community.
Instead of just rewarding your millennial employees with a bonus if they hit their quota or have an outstanding achievement, make sure that you recognize their various behaviors which champion your company culture.
In other words, besides their hard skills, they want to be valued for their communication skills, conflict resolution, or teamwork.
By recognizing their contribution and hard work, you’ll help Gen Y employees feel more secure and happy at work, and as a result, they will be more productive and motivated.
This recognition also serves the purpose of giving them a sense of direction - millennials need to know how they stack up within your company.
You’d be surprised what a simple hand-written thank you note or saying something along the lines of “I appreciate all your hard work” can do for their productivity and engagement.
Millennials don’t want to stay at an entry level, dead-end job for the rest of their career, they want to grow and develop professionally, and if you don’t offer them this possibility, they’ll leave.
By providing Millennials with leadership opportunities, you’re pushing them towards learning new skills and having various experiences, all of which is the key to advancing in their careers.
Put Millennials in charge of projects, teams, or initiatives, and offer support in performing important duties. It’s a good idea to pair a new Millennial hire with a seasoned employee who can show them the ropes.
Mentorship will give Millenials guidance and help them move up the corporate ladder.
Millennials will pick a company that offers them the best benefits; however, what they value the most is healthcare.
From the Millennial perspective, healthcare isn’t a perk but a right that all employees are entitled to.
A healthy employee is a happy and productive employee. Offering healthcare shows employees you care about them, thus building loyalty.
The very fact that money and financial benefits aren’t their only (or should we say primary) motivations, indicates that Gen Y is somewhat unorthodox.
Work-life balance plays an important role in their satisfaction with their job, and that means they’re not ready to work long hours at the expense of their family and leisure time.
Millennials want to have enough time to relax, travel, and enjoy life.
A flexible work schedule is one of the most sought-after perks, and employees value it over higher pay.
Stats say that 35% of Gen Yers would be willing to accept a 10-20% pay cut in exchange for a flextime work arrangement.
Moreover, 34% of them stated that they left their job because flexible work hours weren't an option.
Millennial employees believe that commuting is a waste of time which is why they’d prefer to work from home, or at least have a job flexible enough to allow them to avoid commuter traffic jam. Coming in later or leaving the office earlier is also something that they’d willingly accept.
A two-year study has shown that working from home leads to a boost in employee productivity, and at the same time reduces employee attrition by 50%, so it’s a win-win situation for both your company and your millennial employees.
Understanding your millennial employees and their needs will help you communicate with them more effectively and get your message through.
While face-to-face communication is still one of the best ways of interacting with your tech-savvy, Gen Y employees, having a custom app built for communication is a must.
You should take different circumstances into consideration such as the fact that you need to keep your remote employees and those working from home posted about all the important things and projects.
Besides that, it’s much faster and efficient to communicate online with the help of a dedicated app, than organize meetings all the time, as these are known productivity killers.
Instead of interrupting your employees in the middle of their work and inviting them to the conference room, create a group in your app and ping all those who require that particular piece of information.
One of the best ways to engage and empower your Gen Y employees is to include them in your decision-making process.
Including your employees in your decision-making process will make them feel like they’re an important part of the company, and not cogs in a wheel following somebody’s orders without being able to influence anything.
Involving your staff in important processes is a surefire way to engage your purpose-driven Millennial employees as you’re working towards achieving mutual goals and benefits.
Forget everything that you’ve ever heard about millennials as these generalizations are a far cry from the truth. These tips will help you understand what makes them tick and turn them into loyal employees willing to participate in the growth of your company.
Written by Michael Deane
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.