Employee Engagement and the Millennial Workforce

by Emil Shour, Content Manager at SnackNation.

HR managers pride themselves with the implementation of programs intended to ensure employee retention, satisfaction and wellbeing. In many organisations, their employee engagement programs are excellent but in others, their programs are disgraceful making it difficult for their organisations to compete in the labour market.

Millennials are taking over the workforce

More than one in three (35%) working Americans are millennials, eclipsing other generations in the workforce, according to a Pew Research Centre analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The organization defines millennials as the generation aged 21 to 36 in 2017.

In a recent Forbes interview Dan Negroni said and I quote, “40% of the workforce and most average companies are millennials…if you look at certain types of companies real estate companies and high tech companies, you have as much as 70% – 80% millennials in the workplace”. She added that in the next 10 years, 75% of the workforce will be millennials no matter where you are.

Many employees in today’s job market quickly feel uninspired by their work, get bored after 2 years and start job-hunting for something new. This cycle is even more prevalent in organisations where employee engagement strategies are yet to embrace the shifting demographics at work and the new focuses of the millennial workforce.

The distinctions of the millennial workforce

  • Millennials value a higher purpose and social responsibility
  • They value flexibility and autonomy where there’s no separation between work and life, instead an integration of work and life at the workplace.
  • There’s more value attached to culture, environment, relationships and experiences. They understand the value of communities and experiences.
  • Millennials need time not money or material things.
  • Knowing the ‘why of the work they do’ is prerequisite to millennials.
What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work. This is not the same as Employee satisfaction.

Employee Satisfaction only indicates how happy or content your employees are. It does not address their level of motivation, involvement, or emotional commitment. While for some employees, being satisfied means collecting a paycheck doing as little work as possible, it is not necessarily same for millennials.

With every passing decade, organizations are taking stock of generational realities impacting the workplace and hence, evaluate organizational strategy. So, thinking about millennials and how to engage them in organizations is a natural and logical question for employers to grapple with.

What can you do to engage millennials?

Here are 5 awesome Employee Engagement and Retention ideas that should be at the top of HR Managers priority list if they need to attract and retain millennial workforce in their organisations.

  1. Ensure your organisation is aligned with a higher purpose

As mentioned earlier millennials value the why you do work not the what or how. They need to have clarity of purpose and direction. They must understand how the work they do contributes to the organisations success.

  1. Make sure the company’s health and wellbeing program is excellent.

There have been multiple scientific studies providing that health and wellness efforts not only yield higher productivity and engagement in the workplace, it will also help reduce turnover as job stress is the number 1 reason people quit along with a lack of work-life balance.

  1. Promote perks that boost mental and physical wellbeing

Perks can help make your office a more fun place to work in. Here are some awesome perks offered by fun employers;

  1. Unlimited vacation days
  2. Working from Home facilities
  3. On-site yoga or team off-site fitness classes with free health entered lunches
  4. Charity fun runs with the team
  5. A yearly Wellness Day

4. Stand for something your team can be proud of.

According to Irene Becker voted as one of the Top 100 Employee Engagement Experts Online, answers the questions of how companies can drive and sustain employee engagement activities at a time when engagement is at an all time low:

“By showing our employees that we care, that we stand for something they can be proud of, and that we offer them meaningful, purposeful work and an opportunity to grow, learn, contribute and succeed because we know that success is a me to WE equation that starts with:

  1. Personal, professional development and a structure for growth, recognition and are alive in the organization.
  2. Managers, mentors and trainers that are equipped to coach, inspire and bring out the best in their people.
  3. Communities of purpose; groups that are centered around a purpose driven business, CSR or community activity are alive, aligning shared values and mission with collaboration.
  4. Transparency of communication and the integrity of the organizations commitment to growth, recognition and the optimisation of individual and collective potential is mirrored in new ways of developing team spirit and vertical/horizontal collaboration.
  5. Human interaction, social activities that engage our people as human beings in the human side of being part of a vibrant, growing, thriving culture.”

5. Have more fun

Take a half day weekly to do something fun together. Go on a group fitness class, play sports outdoors, go paintballing or bowling. These social events help people bond with others on the team who they don’t interact with on a daily basis and builds a better sense of community within your organization.

When you focus more attention on engaging employees, the results are higher productivity, better retention rates and improvements in organizational success across the board.

What activities has your company used to increase employee engagement?

Blog adapted from the original by Emil Shour from Snacknation

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