Engaging Millennials

6 Shifts Managers Need To Understand

By Alissa Finerman

Here’s some food for thought. According to Gallup:

  • Millennials are the least engaged generation at work at 29%.
  • 60% of them are open to a different job opportunity.
  • 36% will look for a job with a different organization if the job market improves.
  • Turnover stemming from Millennials’ lack of engagement costs the US economy $30.5 billion on an annual basis.

Managers who want to connect with and effectively manage Millennials need to expand their development style and understand the 6 shifts taking place that Gallup’s research has uncovered.

1. My paycheck to my purpose

There is a big shift taking place right now and it’s moving away from just having a job to make money to wanting to work for a company that’s making a difference in the world (think Tesla, SpaceX, Google, Uber, SAP, Toms). So companies need to realize that simply having a sales target or empty goal that means nothing to employees will not drive Millennials’ engagement.  They want to feel they are connected to a larger purpose.

2. My satisfaction to my development

87% of Millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job. Companies can give 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 simple step managers can take is to schedule regular meetings with their team to give feedback and share their goals and specific role responsibilities. People like to feel that they matter and that their voice is being heard. Millennials also want “meaningful” feedback, which only 17% say they are receiving.

3. My boss to my coach

Millennials want their “boss” to act like a coach and help them get better every day. 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 wanted to be treated with respect regardless of their age.

4. My annual review to ongoing conversations

Historically, companies have operated with annual reviews. However, this is a diminishing trend.  Millennials most notably want continuous feedback just like how they communicate. They are constantly texting, tweeting and instagraming so they see communication as fluid rather than a one-time event. Managers need to understand this and adapt if they want to be successful.

5. My weaknesses to my strengths

Most companies love to have people work on their weaknesses rather than identify and leverage their strengths. The strengths based approach focuses on what people are doing right and partnering to manage any weaker areas. To improve engagement levels, managers need to work with Millennials to help them understand their strengths and how they can use them more effectively in their role.

6. My job to my life

Millennials don’t just see the work day as a job, they see it as a way of life. They want to connect to the organization they work for and feel like they are valued by the organization, team and manager. The best way for a manager to drive engagement and make Millennials feel like they matter is to honor their strengths and help them do more of what they love.

Our Trendspotter Alert is this:

Managers need to recognize these new mindsets and adapt their approach if they want to engage Millennials. Since this generation will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, they will have a profound effect on workplace culture. The time is now to understand these shifts in order to inspire this next generation of innovators and producers.

* based on the Gallup research report “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” and Gallup presentation at the SHRM Annual Convention 2017.