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6 Ways to Engage and Keep Millennial Employees

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More bad news about Millennials from Gallup research. Not only are the majority of Millennials not engaged at work (55 percent), the majority of them would willingly move on instead of looking for a promotion within their current company.

In Gallup’s report, "How Millennials Want to Work and Live," they found that 21 percent of Millennial workers switched jobs in the last year -- three times higher than other generations in the workplace. Up to 91 percent of those who moved switched to another organization because they did not see enough opportunity for growth in their current position.

Gallup reports six ways that organizations need to adjust their organizational cultures to address this reality.

Gallup calls these the "Big Six" ways that organizations must change how they focus on their workforce:

  1. Emphasize purpose over a paycheck: Organizations with a strong organizational culture that communicates vision and a purpose will edge out organizations that emphasize compensation. The fundamental shift seen in this generation is that they crave work with a purpose or meaning. This doesn’t mean they are inherently philanthropic or altruistic, just that they require fair pay for work that they can perceive as meaningful and purpose driven.
  2. Emphasize development over satisfaction: The Gallup findings mirror additional current research by Deloitte that Millennials are “leadership-challenged” and are seeking development opportunities rather than perks like toys and entitlements. Just as purpose is emphasized above, they want to be given the opportunity to develop as leaders for the simple fact that it resonates with them and connotes value.
  3. Be a coach, not a boss: Millennials want a supervisor who will help them learn, develop, and advance in their career, not impose control or command performance. Organizations will not only need to look at how they support the leadership development and advancement of their Millennials, but also how they re-train current upper management to contribute to the development of this generation. After all, Millennials are not only the future generation of leaders, they are the “now” generation of leaders.
  4. Have an ongoing conversation, not a static review: Millennials don’t want to wait for performance reviews or annual reviews to get feedback. These workers are more engaged when their managers provide frequent and consistent communication. In addition, organizations will need to develop a method of asking and offering real-time feedback about company values and vision. Pulse surveys and crowdsourcing feedback are instant and dynamic ways to gather feedback. 
  5. Emphasize strengths over weaknesses: Gallup emphasizes focusing on strengths (positives) vs. weaknesses (negatives), however, organizations should also take into account that they need to give Millennials opportunities to practice as leaders. Leadership acumen will never become a strength without the opportunity to develop. Arguably, Millennials are “unpracticed” leaders, rather than weak ones.
  6. Emphasize having a life not having a job: Gallup reports that Millennials, more than any of the other generations, want to make their job their life, meaning that they want to work in a culture that mirrors their values, values their contribution, and gives them the chance to do what they do best every day – or they are willing to walk. Organizations that are unable to highly engage Millennials and give them opportunities to develop as leaders will continue to see high levels of turn over and disengagement.

You may enjoy some of our other blogs on topic of Millennials, employee engagement, and feedback:

Millennial Leadership Development: Is Your Organization Ready?


What if Leadership Was a SMART Goal?


Inspiration for this post: http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/191585/millennial-job-hoppers-seek.aspx

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Bailey Shrum

Bailey Shrum is FlashPoint's marketing coordinator. She helps plan, develop, and execute marketing initiatives.