According to a research, millennials are projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. Source Not just the US, but millennials are becoming a large majority of the working population globally. If the previous generations have more experience, these individuals are more driven to learn new things and bring innovation. They bring their own radical approach to the workplace to get the job done in the most efficient manner.
So should companies make any changes to their work culture to keep the rising number of millennials engaged? Yes, they definitely should!
Here are some ways they can adopt to keep millennials engaged in the organization:
Explain the big picture:
The work environment has gone a drastic change as compared to the last couple of decades. Earlier employees were treated as liabilities and as such did not particularly have a voice or opinion. They were rarely explained to what fruition would their efforts eventually come to. Individuals were hired based upon their capacity to perform specific tasks and were expected to continue doing the same tasks in the same manner until they were explicitly told to. They had very little idea about what the company’s end goals were and if they were in any way contributing towards these goals.
Millennials are a whole different breed. They want to understand what is the company trying to achieve and how best can they contribute towards its success. They do not like to idly perform the same set of tasks without having a clear idea about what is the expected outcome of these initiatives. It kills their motivation to give their best.
Companies need to make sure that they have a transparent work environment. They should clearly communicate the company’s goals and vision to their employees in a way that every single one of them can see the bigger picture and understand the direction where the company is headed to. The management needs to communicate with their employees and make them understand the importance of their actions so that they are more committed towards their job. It also helps millennials develop a sense of belonging with their company.
Most companies in the past encouraged the bell curve grading approach when it came to performance assessments. Although the intentions may have been good, it led to a lot of unhealthy competition between team members. Each employee had their own agenda to succeed so they rarely helped out their peers. This not only led to their own poor performance but the entire team’s productivity was affected.
Millennials like to be challenged but not in such a manner, that their colleagues are threatened by their presence or contributions. They want more challenging tasks where they can display their skills and expertise. They are also not shy of asking for help from their peers when needed. They understand that 2 or more minds can quickly overcome a problem that could stump an individual for prolonged periods of time, thus affecting their productivity.
Companies need to develop a collaborative environment where employees are encouraged to help each other out to overcome their obstacles and get their team back on track. Instead of sabotaging each other’s job to seek glory for themselves, they should actually work together and help the entire team succeed in their endeavors.
Annual performance reviews are still rampant in many large organizations. By now a large majority has learned that these reviews rarely provide any value to either the company or the employee. In such reviews, performance of an employee is assessed for the entire year at one go and feedback is given at the same time. These feedback are often too late and do not help the employee particularly when they need suggestions the most. Their performance levels are not rectified at the time due to which their productivity is reduced to a great extent throughout the year. When they are told about these problems in the annual reviews, it is already too late for them to make any changes.
When it comes to seeking or giving feedback, millennials want to the process to take step immediately, that is whenever the need arises. They do not like to wait for prolonged periods to seek feedback. They know that if they wait, they will not be able to overcome their problem and i will only snowball further. Millennials proactively seek their manager’s feedback if they think they are not performing at their best. They seek for ways to improve their performance and overcome their limitations without waiting for annual performance reviews.
The management needs to inculcate a culture of continuous feedback in the organization. This is helpful not only to the millennials but to the entire workforce.
Flexible work environment:
And lastly, more than any other generation, millennials like to maintain a healthy work-life balance. So while they give their best in the organization, they also want to pursue other important aspects of their life. It could be giving time to family, pursuing a hobby, teaching the underprivileged, to almost anything. If they are made to work in the office from 9 to 5 and given the freedom to work on their own terms, they will not hesitate to look for better opportunities that provide more freedom.
Catering to the millennials is not that difficult but it does have certain challenges. Companies need to revamp their work environment to suit the changing times and eventually everything will get sorted out.