5 Innovative Ways to Improve Employee Engagement for Millennials

With the number of millennials projected to be 75.3 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau, they will surpass the populations of the Baby Boomers and Generation X this year. It’s no wonder more and more business executives are placing the futures of their companies in the hands of Generation Y.

It’s difficult to accept the changes this new generation brings, though. It’s important to remember that as times change, so do requirements for business success. Things are a lot different today than they were 20, 15, or even just five years ago, which is why it’s essential for millennials to help your business keep up with the times. How, then, can you as a business executive engage members of Generation Y within your business to ensure a successful future for your company?

1. Define Employee Expectations and Responsibilities

One of the most important ways to start building a healthy relationship with your employees is to be clear and concise about what you expect from them. This should start the moment applicants read the job description, so they are aware of the responsibilities and requirements attached to the position.

Motivate employees to take part in the growth of your business by letting them know the goals they should strive toward as well as the company’s overall goals and mission statement. This tactic will allow employees to better understand where your company is headed and how they can help you get there.

It also develops a sense of trust between you and your employees and, as noted in a 2013 study by Culture Amp, 74 percent of millennials surveyed state that confidence in their leadership is one of the key contributions toward their level of engagement within the company culture.

2. Turn Managers into Coaches

Previous generations view managers as supervisors. However accurate that has been in the past, millennials prefer managers who are more supportive and involved with coworkers. Promoting employee engagement among managers and the employees they oversee will help Millennials gain a better grasp of the overall workings of their department and increase their likelihood of landing a promotion sooner.

Turning your department manager into a coach or mentor also enforces the confidence employees have in the company because it shows their overseers care about their performance and want to see them be the best they can be. Employees develop a closer bond with managers who are more like mentors instead of people who just stand back and point out flaws or acknowledge achievements on occasion. Bonding in the workplace also leads to a more successful business, because it increases quality performance.

3. Encourage Collaboration—NOT Competition

Members of Generation Y spent much of their educational career participating in group projects, learning not only from their educators but from one another, as well. Since your employees are all working toward a common goal, encouraging them to use their interpersonal skills can help them reach that goal more quickly and efficiently, which will ultimately help your business climb the industrial ladder at a faster rate while also improving customer satisfaction.

Giving your employees the ability to collaborate with one another allows them to contribute their individual, unique talents to your company while also learning more skills from their fellow coworkers they can later apply to other responsibilities they hold within your company. 

Research done by Intelligence Group shows that 88 percent of millennials prefer a work culture that integrates more collaboration than competition. So, if you’re looking for a way to boost employee engagement for your members of Generation Y, collaboration among employees is essential.

4. Offer Volunteer Opportunities

Millennials are more likely to work with companies that hold similar beliefs as themselves, because results from Intelligence Group studies also indicate that 64 percent of Generation Yers believe it is crucial for us to “make the world a better place,” and collaborating with those who hold this same belief will help them achieve that mission.

They are much more interested in getting involved to make that difference than participating in a giving campaign. Personal feedback is much more rewarding than a pizza party for filling milk jugs with pennies.

Millennials are more interested in working for companies that care about causes than those that just go about their day-to-day functions without initiating further contribution to the needs of their industries or society as a whole.

They view companies that care about causes as companies that also care more about their employees. It demonstrates to millennials that they care about interests and situations of their employees, that their employees are not just numbers in the grand scheme of company success.

5. Be Flexible

Members of Generation Y want options. They want the ability to balance their work and personal lives, to get more out of the workplace and life in general. In order to help them fulfill these desires, so they are satisfied with contributing their talent to your company, you as a business executive can offer more flexibility.

  • Telecommuting options: A change in environment is often beneficial to employee performance. Allowing them to get out of the office—work from home or a local coffee shop—will also build trust in your company-employee relationship.
  • More flexible hours: As long as the work gets done well in a timely fashion, offering your Generation Y employees the ability to choose their own hours will increase their respect for your company. It shows that you value them enough that you’ll work around their schedule so they can make it to personal events, such as their children’s sports events or dance recitals.

Giving millennials options, teaching them the ways of your company through management coaching and collaboration, and demonstrating that you share their interests will help strengthen the relationship with those who are essentially the future of your business. If they respect and appreciate you and your company’s values, they will be more inclined to carry on the company mission and values to create a bigger, brighter future.

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