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Team Effectiveness

6 Ways to Engage and Keep Millennial and Gen Z Employees

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Do You Know Why Your Employees Choose to Leave - Or Stay?

As a leadership development professional, you are likely inundated lately with news of "the great resignation." While many factors contribute to this new willingness for employees to take flight, let's take a look at what we do know: Millennial workers already switched jobs three times higher than other generations in the workplace prior to the pandemic.

Today, Millennials and Gen Z employees demonstrate they are more willing to leave their current roles than other generations in the workplace. Ample evidence shows that well-being, diversity and inclusion, ethical leadership, and transparency are what these leaders are looking for from organizations. But don't underestimate the impact that lack of growth opportunities, and training and development, has on their willingness to leave.

A recent study found that when searching for a new job, 90% of employees reported it is very important a company offer strong training opportunities and upskilling programs.* And in the report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live**, Gallup found that 91 percent of millennials 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:

  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 having 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 shows they are valued.
  3. Be a coach, not a boss: Millennials and Gen Z 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: Your employees don’t want to wait for performance reviews or annual reviews to get feedback. 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.

As we navigate the current reality of the "great resignation" and further study what all levels or leaders want from work, we'll continue to publish new content. Here are some of our recent blogs highlighting how you can navigate the challenges facing leaders in a changing world:

What Skills do Leaders Need Right Now?

20 Elements to Include in Leadership Development Programs

SMART Goals for Leaders and Managers

*Workforce of 2022: Reskilling, Remote, and More
**How Millennials Want to Work and Live

How to Succeed With Emerging Leaders Download 

Kaylynn Cline

Kaylynn Cline is FlashPoint's digital media marketing coordinator. She engages FlashPoint's audiences with video, social media graphics, web graphics, and more.