In case you missed it, millennials have been the largest generation in the workforce since 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew found that the group now makes up 56% of the U.S. labor force, and the International Labor Organization estimates that the figure will rise to 75% by 2025. If you’re at all concerned about attracting, motivating, and retaining talent, you need to know how 24 to 38 year-olds (as of 2018) feel about work.
Employee engagement is the measure of how emotionally committed employees are to your organization and its goals. A Harvard Business Review study found that employee engagement is closely linked to innovation, productivity, and bottom-line performance. Furthermore, a Gallup study found that only 29% of millennials are engaged with their work, which indicates that most employers have an opportunity to improve.
Millennial Engagement: How to Get and Keep It
First things first: making generalizations about any age group can be dicey business. To obtain and retain millennial engagement, leaders need to remember that their teams consist of individuals. With that in mind, there are some proven tactics for getting millennials more “into” their jobs. Many involve non-financial or other alternative compensation and benefits. Let’s look at a few.
Encourage and Support Flexibility in the Workplace
Flexibility in the workplace is becoming one of the most desired employment benefits. Remote work is so appealing that more than a third of all workers surveyed by FlexJobs said they’d switch jobs to have a remote working opportunity. Millennials see remote work and other flexible working arrangements as part of a proper work-life balance. Maintaining that balance is so important that 17% of millennials surveyed by Deloitte said that it was their top measure for evaluating career opportunities.
It’s not enough to simply bullet-point your organization’s flexible working arrangements in an all-company email. Your organization needs to actively encourage people to use those benefits and ensure there are no repercussions for doing so. If working remotely puts employees on a stunted career-development path, or you offer lots of nominal paid time off but managers discourage people from using it, that’s not a benefit. It’s a morale-killer.
Provide an Outlet for Personally-Important Work
Like all people, millennials want to do meaningful work that makes their world a better place. Employers should support that drive. One way organizations can meet this need is by offering employees paid time off for volunteering. Even promoting something as simple as encouraging employees to enjoy the great outdoors, as REI does by giving employees two Yay Days every year, can do the trick. The key is to demonstrate your commitment to helping employees attain the ideal work-life balance.
Highlight a Clear Career Development Path
If you want millennials to stick around, they need to know that their work and training will lead to career advancement. According to Deloitte, over 70% of millennials who said they were likely to switch jobs within the next two years cited the lack of leadership skill development.
Recognize and Reward Top Performers
More than four in ten millennials surveyed by IBM said that their organizations did not recognize their achievements. Those are natural errors that can be addressed by recognizing your top performers. Public recognition by executives and senior management goes a long way towards letting your best employees know they are valued. Combine that recognition with worthwhile rewards that clearly demonstrate your appreciation. You don’t have to give everyone a new car at the end of the year, but budgeting for a rewards and recognition program is money well spent—and it’s much more effective dollar-for-dollar than cash bonuses.
Where to Begin: Custom Incentive Plans
With a properly-structured incentive plan, you can recognize and reward millennials—and employees of all ages—for top performance in reaching the metrics that help your organization achieve its strategic goals.
Inproma designs, implements, and administers custom incentive plans tailored to your organization’s needs. If you need more ways to boost millennial employee engagement, or your current program isn’t producing results, we should talk.