The vast majority of today's workforce is comprised of millennials and will very soon get a boom from Generation Z. What the members of both of these generations seem to have in common is a general belief that they are antisocial. This makes them seem like a workforce that is quite hard to deal with, but we would like to point out that this is not the case.
Millennials are those born in the 1980's and all the way up to 2000, which makes them 17 and all the way up their late 30's today. They are extremely different than the members of Generation X, which is the central reason why they appear to be antisocial. However, this may be more of a matter of perception. Since millennials are the very first digital natives, they perceive communication to be directly linked to the online world, which changes the patterns that they use entirely.
Adapting to their style of communication and, most importantly, to their career goals and expectations holds the key to engaging them in the workplace. In this article, we are going to relay the seven main steps to making this antisocial workforce thrive.
1. Giving Them Purpose Is Essential
As opposed to Generation X that seemed to aim towards climbing the corporate ladder and building a solid future for them and their families, millennials strive for something completely different. The main focus of their professional life is passion. Their work must be meaningful, for them, as well as their community.
Understanding this is absolutely crucial because giving them a purpose in the workplace will prove to be extremely efficient towards getting them truly engaged. Not only is it important that they fully comprehend the purpose of the company they work with, but they must also understand how their job is directly related to it. This will help them see the point of their daily struggle and it will make them be more committed to improving.
2. Giving Them A Mentor Will Motivate Them
Millennials have been raised to believe in a better and stronger world, which means that rank enough is not enough to earn their trust. They need to work alongside a person whom they can look up to, and maybe even whom they want to become like.
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey from 2016, more than 63% of millennials who intend to stay with their company for more than five years have a mentor, while only 32% do not.
3. Speaking Their Language Will Make Them Feel Connected
Since millennials do most of their communication on social media, moving at least part of the work-related discussions online will make them feel more connected. This will happen naturally simply because they would be in a familiar environment where they feel confident and safe.
Building a social network application that is custom tailored for employees would be an excellent investment for any large company because it would meet most of the key factors of getting millennials engaged. They would be interested in exploring the app and its main features and most importantly, they would be significantly more comfortable using the app than being a part of the typical corporate lifestyle. And let’s face it, no one is really comfortable with keeping our bosses and colleagues on our private Facebook and Instagram accounts.
4. Allowing Them To Be Creative in Their Job
As we have mentioned above, millennials value passion above all else in their professional life. Having a creative component included in their job description will not only help them become invested in their position, but it may just give way to significant professional progress. The Deloitte study found that 76% of millennials are highly satisfied with a creative working culture.
The creativity of millennials has led to the development of some of the today's most solid businesses, such as Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Airbnb, and many others. As such, putting this component of their personality to good use could lead to impressive results.
5. Giving Them Feedback Will Help Them Improve
The fast pace of the social media world has made millennials become used to receiving feedback on their personal life. From the likes they get for their Facebook pictures to the comments people leave on their posts, receiving feedback is not only normal, but expected.
As such, providing millennials with regular feedback on their work will help them become better employees. Knowing what they have done well will help them increase their self-confidence in the workplace and knowing which aspects they should improve on will help them build a well-structured plan towards their development.
6. Flexible Work Schedules Will Do Wonders
While millennials will be extremely dedicated to their work, especially if at least some of these seven steps are met, they may not do this in a typical way. For instance, the 9 to 5 workday may not be appealing to millennials in the long term because it will quickly lead to a sense of entrapment.
Allowing them flexibility in establishing their work schedule will be extremely useful because it will stimulate their creativity. While this may initially seem like a counterproductive way to deal with scheduling, it will, in fact, boost productivity among millennials.
Moreover, considering that they view themselves to be far more independent than the previous generation, providing them with the option to work remotely when possible, or to create their own schedule will make them feel more connected to the company because they will feel that they belong there.
7. Keeping Part of the Traditional Work Lifestyle Intact Will Keep Them Engaged
While applying some key changes in the traditional work lifestyle will indeed make them more interested in their jobs, maintaining some of its essential elements is equally important. Millennials want to feel that they belong in today's professional world, but they also want to be able to make it their own.
However, this also means that certain milestones must remain present in their professional life. From working in an office, wearing office clothing, and all the way to participating in formal meetings and developing reports, these elements will help them identify as successful adults.
As you can see, engaging millennials in the workplace mainly entails understanding them properly as a generation and meeting their specific needs. This will prove to be extremely rewarding because millennials will truly go the extra mile when properly motivated.