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Alexis Phillips

We all know the importance of employee engagement. According to a meta-analysis by management consulting firm Gallup, work units with high employee engagement are 22% more profitable, 21% more productive and enjoy customer ratings which are 10% higher than those with low employee engagement. This means that all evidence points to the simple fact that employee disengagement can clearly impact a company’s growth and performance negatively. Despite this, contemporary workforces are largely disengaged, and this is particularly true for millennial employees. This is because their bosses are more than likely to be so-called “baby boomers” who might not understand their preferences, motivations or working styles. So, here are some ways that business leaders can engage their millennial workforce, using their insights as an asset to the company:

1) Utilise their tech expertise

Millennials are the first generation of “digital natives” and this shows in their working style. They will expect to use comprehensive digital software daily in their work, and will likely get frustrated if your online systems are antiquated and ineffective. So, ensure that your company is using effective and up-to-date software.

If this is something that your company struggles with, make sure that your millennial employees know that you are open to their suggestions and advice. They may know of websites or programmes that could make day-to-day work more efficient, or of digital or automated shortcuts for menial tasks.

You should also employ their expertise for the company’s own social media channels and website. Consulting them on what you could do to amplify your social media presence, to look more tech-savvy and engaging online or to improve the user experience on your website, could help to better the business’s public image. This is particularly true for smaller organisations, who may not have a social media or digital team dedicated to these platforms.

Having a “millennial approved” digital presence can be hugely helpful in leading to business growth. Millennials typically job hunt online, so making sure that you look like an attractive and engaging company to work for could lead to more potential millennial employees.

2) Adapt to their flexible approach to working

The millennial generation tend to value their work not on the basis of how often they are in the office or on how late they stay, but on how productive they are and how much they get done. This is especially prevalent in the current climate, where working from home has become the norm and this is likely to remain the case moving forwards.

Millennials may want to work from home more often and may be reluctant to commit to a role that necessitates being in the office from nine to five, five days a week. This doesn’t mean that they will be less valuable or get less work done. For this generation in particular, work doesn’t have to mean a typical office job with typical office hours.

A growing trend for millennials is to participate in multiple projects at once, some of them lower-income or unpaid “passion projects” on the side of their work, which may also affect their preferred working hours. So, be adaptable, by collaborating with them to find a working style which suits both themselves and the wider company.

3) Ensure that they feel a sense of purpose

The prevalence of “passion projects” among millennials leads us to our next point; what motivates them. Where it is a salary or the prospect of career advancement that drives many people in their work, for millennials, it is a sense of purpose.

According to The Millennial Impact Project, a data and analysis body exploring how millennials in the US interact with causes, 90% of millennial workers are motivated by a specific mission rather than an organisation.

So, promote any sustainability or equality initiatives in which your business participates to younger employees. This will ensure that they feel motivated in their work, recognising the opportunity to make a difference in their industry.

If you feel as though you need help on these fronts, be it in making your business more sustainable and diverse, or simply being a better workplace, utilise your millennial workforce as your consultants. These movements are booming among young people, and so they are likely to have numerous ideas on how you could improve. This is a win-win situation, bettering the business as a whole and maintaining an enthusiastic, purpose-led workforce.

4) Provide regular feedback

A study conducted by PwC found that 41% of millennials would like to be rewarded for their work on a monthly basis, if not more often. This does not come from a need for constant praise, as some may complain. Actually, it stems from millennials’ desire to excel in their work and their preference for reassurance that they are doing so.

Feedback does not need to be lengthy; a short email will suffice. However, making this “little and often” approach to recognition common practice in your company will have a huge impact on employee satisfaction. Indeed, a BambooHR survey discovered that 75% of employees rewarded monthly were satisfied with their job.

 5) Implement a reverse mentoring programme

While we can provide you with some tips on how to engage your millennial workforce, the best people to advise on this are obviously the younger employees themselves.

By setting up a reverse mentoring programme, where senior employees are mentored by and engage in regular discussions with younger staff, millennial members of staff are given the opportunity to provide honest feedback of a young person’s experience working for the firm and what they believe the business could be doing better.

If your business is currently looking to hire millennial employees or you would like further advice on how to improve employee engagement, please get in touch with our recruitment consultants: info@merje.com.