Partnering with Millennials
- by Alissa Finerman
Millennials are an important part of the workplace – there are 73 million millennials who were born between 1980 and 1996. Their voice matters and if people and teams are going to be successful, managers need to understand this growing segment of the workforce and manage them more effectively to improve engagement levels.
When people are not engaged at work they are less likely to be loyal to a company and will move around more freely for new opportunities. Per Gallup, millennials are the least engaged generation at work at 29% compared to Genxers at 32%, Baby boomers at 33% and traditionalists at 45%. Gallup estimates that turnover for millennials stemming from lack of engagement costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion on an annual basis. High turnover is detrimental to building a cohesive team because people need to be recruited, trained and re-learn how best to partner with co-workers.
Managers who want to connect with and effectively manage millennials need to expand their development style and understand several major shifts taking place, per Gallup research, in this segment of the workplace. *
- My paycheck to my purpose
There is a big shift taking place right now and it’s moving away from a mindset of having a job to just make money to wanting to work for a company that’s making a difference in the world and has a purpose (think Toms, Warby Parker, Patagonia, SAP, Zappos, etc). So companies need to realize that simply having a sales target or empty goal that means nothing to an employee will not drive engagement. Millennials want to feel like they are connected to a larger purpose and making a difference.
- My satisfaction to my development
Companies can provide all the perks in the world to their employees but if people don’t feel like they are being heard, recognized and developed by their managers they will not be engaged. A few simple steps mangers can take are to schedule regular meetings with their team, give feedback more frequently, help people identify their strengths and apply them (check out the StrengthsFinder assessment to learn more), customize goals and make sure each team member is clear on their role. People like to feel they matter and that their voice is being heard.
- My boss to my coach
Millennials want their “boss” to act like a coach and help them improve everyday based on their strengths. Some bosses are often more about telling people what to do rather than listening for what’s important to the person and then offering guidance and a collaborative approach. Millennials want to be part of the team rather than feel like there is a chain of command. They think their ideas are just as worthy as those of their boss and want to be treated with respect regardless of their age. Gallup highlights that only 21% of millennials meet with their manager on a weekly basis. Managers need to understand this factor and adapt if they want to successfully connect with millennials.
Companies need great managers who can retain, motivate, and develop their team to achieve key goals. Managers can do this by customizing their management style to connect with and engage everyone on their team more effectively so it’s a win-win for all.
* Based on the Gallup research report “How Millennials Want to Work and Live”