Millennials are an important part of the workplace. There are 73 million millennials who were born between 1980 and 1996. Their voice matters and if companies, teams and people are going to be successful, managers need to understand this growing segment of the workforce and manage them more effectively.
When people are not engaged at work they are less likely to be loyal to a company and will move around more easily for new opportunities. Per Gallup, millennials are the least engaged generation at work at 29% compared to Genxers at 32%, Baby boomers at 33% and traditionalists at 45%. Gallup estimates that turnover for millennials stemming from lack of engagement costs the US economy $30.5 billion on an annual basis. High turnover is very detrimental to building a cohesive team because people need to be recruited, trained and re-learn about how best to partner with co-workers.
Managers who want to connect with and effectively manage millennials need to expand their development style and understand the six shifts taking place, per Gallup research, in this segment of the workplace.
- 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 work (think Tesla, SpaceX, Google, Uber, SAP, Toms). So companies need to realize that works like purpose make a difference and just simply having a sales target or empty goal that means nothing to an employee will not drive engagement. Millennials want to feel like they are connected to a larger purpose and making a difference.
- My satisfaction to my development
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 mangers can take is to schedule regular meetings with their team and give feedback and share the goals and specific role responsibilities. People like to feel that they matter and that their voice is being heard. Regular meetings is an easy way to address this area and improve performance.
- My boss to my coach
Millennials want their “boss” to act like a coach and help them get better everyday. Bosses are often more about giving out orders rather than having a collaborative approach and listening to input (every boss is different). 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.
- My annual review to my ongoing conversations
Historically, companies have operated with annual reviews. This is changing now but millennials want constant feedback just like how they communicate. They are constantly texting, tweeting and instagraming so they see communication at fluid rather than a one time event. Managers need to understand this and adopt if they want to be successful. Gallup highlights that only 21% of millennials meet with their manager on a weekly basis.
- 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.
- 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.
* based on the Gallup research report “How Millennials Want to Work and Live”
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Milken Institute, LA Business Journal, Prostate Cancer Foundation, and NBC Universal. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook