Millennials are certainly shaking up the world of human resources. For many years, companies have actively weeded out candidates who seem to lack the ability to stick with one company–job hoppers, they’re called. There are a lot of sound reasons for this, primarily that onboarding a new team every two years seems to waste a lot of company time and resources. The fact is, though, 91 percent of millennials (born between 1977 and 1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years. With millennials flooding the workplace, this is the new normal for which companies need to prepare. Millennials have learned that job-hopping can help them quickly advance, much faster than the slow climb up the corporate ladder that can come from spending years at one company.
A study by Aon Hewitt uncovered a clear disconnect between what millennials expect and desire from employers, and what their employers are actually offering. This gap is negatively impacting the engagement and retention of this generation, and may be one of the primary reasons why millennials will be looking for new opportunities. So what can companies do to entice millennials to stay and grow with their company? Create a workplace culture that recognizes the values that are important to them: work-life balance, employee recognition, professional growth, loyalty, respect, open communication, fairness, humor, and fun. Read on for tips for how to foster a workplace culture that is appealing to millennials.
Younger employees often benefit from mentoring
Bridge the Generation Gap
One of the worst things that you can do to accommodate a workplace that includes millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers is separate them. According to Entrepreneur, intergenerational groups demonstrate positive effects for both sides. Younger employees often benefit from mentoring, while the older crowd can be invigorated by youthful enthusiasm. Creating these groups means that you’ll need to give less-experienced workers the chance to tackle projects in areas where they may be untried, but that can present precisely the type of professional development opportunities that keep them engaged and invested in the company.
Intergenerational groups are not without their snags. You’ll have to work closely with the team to be open to new forms of communication and to actively recognize employee contributions. For instance, maybe you have a younger employee who is perceived by older employees to be on their phone too much. If everyone on the team is aware of the team’s collective and individual accomplishments, it’s easier for employees of different generations to begin to understand that their work modes are just going to look a little different from each other. As long as everyone carries their weight and adds value to the team, those style differences become less of an issue.
If fun is a foreign concept to your company, start small
Create Opportunities for Fun
The average work week is now forty-seven hours, and that isn’t lost on millennials who value work-life balance perhaps more than any generation before them. If you want to get the mostÂ from your employees, preventing burnout, not to mention clock-watching, offer ways for employees to connect on a social level, allowing them to briefly unplug, so that they can return to their projects with increased focus. At Dormify, for example, the environment can shift between getting serious work done to having a dance party in a matter of minutes. The team also loves to decompress by decorating the office for whichever holiday might be coming up. The fun doesn’t have to be limited to startups either. At Goosehead Insurance, one of the largest independent insurance companies in the nation, there’s a much-loved Champagne and Cheers tradition. Every month, employees make a champagne toast to the Most Valuable Client Advocate (MVCA). Along with the title and peer recognition, MVCAs also receive a bottle of champagne all to themselves.
If fun is a foreign concept to your company, start small. You could designate 20 minutes during a monthly staff meeting for a game of Pictionary or buy tickets for everyone on your team to see a new summer blockbuster together. These gestures will be appreciated and help your team start to bond socially, enabling them to work even more efficiently and effectively together.
Try to provide feedback in real time
Make Employee Recognition a Priority
Millennials get a bad rap for being a generation that has been coddled and taught to believe that everything they do is special. The truth is, though, all employees want to feel valued. In recent studies, 79 percent of employees surveyed reported that they felt undervalued, mainly due to a lack of recognition. Additionally, a survey by Glassdoor found that more than 80 percent ofÂ employees said they were motivated to work harder and stay at their jobs longer when they received appreciation for their work.
Make your millennial employees (and perhaps all of your employees) more engaged by providing regular feedback and acknowledgment. Try to provide feedback in real time to help reinforce the behaviors you want to encourage. This real-time feedback is also important, as traditional annual performance reviews or acknowledgment based on tenure-related milestones won’t provide the immediacy that millennials need to stay enthusiastic about their work.