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Youth knows, if age could

Posted by: Matt

Although figures vary slightly, around the world Millennials now make up roughly one third of the workforce, and will soon be in the majority.  Although this new generation of worker is more connected than ever with their peers via digital technology, their connection with employers appears to be faltering. Often viewed as job-hoppers with a disdain for traditional hierarchies; this highly educated generation has some employers scratching their heads on just how to keep them engaged.

Many of today’s employers do not appear to understand the mindset of this new generation. They assume they know what Millennials want, offering perks that aren’t valued, while missing out on what does matter to them.

So, what is it the Millennials want?

Here are three simple things a Company can offer to keep Millennials engaged.

  1. Meaningful work and a connection to the company: Companies need to show this emerging workforce the contribution their role is making. Let them see the big picture, and how a successful company functions. Millennials aren’t satisfied simply punching a clock, they want to understand how they fit in. They want a job that fuels their sense of purpose. By meeting this need, companies are more likely to retain these workers. The most successful companies tie this purpose to their brand, differentiating themselves from their competitors. Successful employers also provide opportunities for their employees to learn and grow; something that Millennials considered important.
  2. Feedback (in both directions): It’s a myth that Millennial’s have no respect for leaders, they just don’t feel the need to respect authority just because it’s there. For them loyalty must be earned. But once it has been earned it is one of the main reasons Millennials stay in a job. While dissatisfaction with a manager is a major reason for them leaving. Millennials aren’t interested in old-school hierarchies, and the days of top-down management are fading fast. If employee feedback is constantly ignored it is likely your Millennial employees will look elsewhere for work. Companies instead need to encourage two-way communication. Giving feedback to young employees, while also listening to their ideas increases their sense of value. People need to know they’re being noticed.
  3. Flexitime and a work life balance: Another myth is that Millennials aren’t willing to put in the hours. The truth is they view time differently. Millennials live in the time frame based on right now. The world has proved to them that nothing is a guarantee. They no longer believe in job security, making them much more likely to job-hop. A lack of flexibility in their work or hours is a big reason Millennials quit. Work-life balance is one of the most significant drivers of employee retention among Millennials. This technological generation, able to work anywhere with an internet connection, don’t see the need to sit at a desk for a set amount of hours. A company that doesn’t offer some flexibility in work arrangements is unlikely to retain young professionals.

One final thing, research has found that younger workers placed a high priority on helping people in need. An employer willing to allow their staff to use company resources and time to help their community will in turn allow their employees to feel good about the company and the role it plays in society. When it comes to a meaningful philosophy to live your life by,  sometimes youth knows more than age gives it credit for.

Matt is a Director of The Talent Hive and leads the Engineering recruitment practice within the business. Originally from the UK he’s been living in New Zealand for 13 years. Matt is a retired ‘amateur’ athlete who has given up chasing great marathon times for chasing his young children around the park, a far more worthy (if not exhausting) pursuit.

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