I work with almost all millennials. I’m a millennial too.

Millennials are a well documented “different breed”. They are considered to be difficult to work with and manage for older generations and for this reason companies are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the Entitled Generation now making up a large part of their workforce.

Who Are The Millennials?

Born between 1980 and 2000, their lives are filled with rapid, turbulent periods of change. Changes like the rise and fall of economic stability, technology disruption and cultural shifts in values and traditions.

Millennial employee traits reflect their experiences with these changes. Their parents, the “Workaholic” generation have told them all of their life to do something with meaning. Contribute and change the world.

Millennials have also had unprecedented influence on decision-making all of their lives. From decisions about where to vacation, what to buy (can you imagine buying a device without a millennial?), and where to live it’s no wonder Millennials expect a seat at the table.

How Do We Engage Millennials?

So how do we give millennials the freedom to explore and the involvement they need? We use a couple of methods listed below:

Use Technology

Millennials are less tech-savvy than we realize and more appropriately labeled – “tech-dependent.” Their whole world involves technology so operating without their tech is less comfortable and productive.

The average millennial uses their smartphone 45+ times a day

As a business you can’t expect your employees to go from using awesome apps and devices as a consumer and then show up to work and start enjoying the use of an old computer running out-dated and unfriendly software.

Technology solutions worth doing: BYOD policies (Bring Your Own Device) to allow employees to work on devices they love, Employee Loyalty apps which reward your employees with prizes, cash, or peer-to-peer recognition, new company software which is as friendly to use as it is useful, and automation tools where responsible.

Communicate Value

Saving the world isn’t an easy task, especially when you are at work! For that reason companies who want to keep millennials are providing more ways for them to do good while at work.

Freedom to volunteer and help others on work time is just a small part of a bigger requirement for millennials — providing value. From the work with the local toy drive to the actual work itself, companies need to know why working is positive for society.

Value solutions worth communicating: regularly communicate how their individual job provide value to the company and in turn how the company provides value to the community, provide opportunities to give back, have a clear purpose, live into your company values, and (importantly) give everyone in the company a seat at the table to voice concerns, opinions, and your next big idea.

Real-Time Feedback

Earlier this year I wrote an article on LinkedIn titled, “9 Instant Employee Engagement Benefits to Ending Internal Emails.

I was serious in the post about the fact internal email isn’t necessary. There is a better way. Using chat tools to provide real-time feedback employees know they are being heard.

Plus, the work is getting done faster and with less politics. There aren’t needless email chains or anxious hours waiting for an urgent response. You shoot over a quick message and you get a response.

The true benefit comes from the fact that a major currency for workplace happiness for millennials is feedback. They want to know how they are doing. Other possible solutions include weekly 1-on-1’s with prepared feedback, peer-to-peer recognition, performance reviews from their peers, and a true open-door environment your leadership creates by actions and not policy.

Create a Culture

Be intentional about the kind of culture you are creating. Remember, regardless of whether you try or not your organization is building habits, values, traditions, and purposes. It works a lot better when you are taking an active role in building those cultural traits.

Solution: Talk about what you want your organization to look like, feel like, and accomplish. You have to create a vision and then as an organization you have to build out how you get there. At our organization we have values that we all know we can live into and repeat without looking at a document. Our culture is a natural extension of what we want to be and who we want to work around.

In Closing

Millennials like every generation before them are different, but their differences should be considered opportunities and not weaknesses. When you focus on using technology, communicating value, providing real-time feedback and conscientiously building a company culture — you can develop an engaging millennial workforce.

 

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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