How to get the best of the Millennials!?!

How to retain Millennials within your company

We can have our own opinions about Millennials whether they are lazy, entitled, slackers or hard workers who think differently, you choose. However, the reality is that they are taking more and more chairs in your office and retaining talent has become an increasing challenge for most organizations. As we all know that the new generation will not stick to a job for 30 years and plan to retire at that same position as it has been the norm in the past. What if there was a secret to make them stay longer at your organization’s and the employee’s benefit?  Employers have to realize that it is quite simple to make them stick around longer by simply understanding their desires.

The Y generation 5 most wished desires:

- Purpose

- Self-development

- Flexible schedule

- Recognition

- Do good

 

Purpose

This concept is the easiest to understand but far too often forgotten or simply neglected. Giving a reason for someone to show up every morning is no easy task to do. However it will be the driving force that dictates the amount of efforts one will put into their work on a daily basis. Money is not an important enough incentive anymore and employees are looking for fulfilment and knowing that their work will have a positive impact on a short and/or long term basis.  Communication is everything. Write down the employee position’s purpose so he can envision the end results of his work and reference back to it when needed. Be careful though, make sure that when a project is completed, it does not end up collecting dust on the shelves. Of course it will happen from time to time but don’t make it a pattern as you will quickly lose the employee’s interest and efforts as that person will have all the rights to behave accordingly. In most projects, no matter which field it is in, it takes a lot of time, effort and energy to push it to completion. It is the employer’s duty to make sure the project will be used and followed through. Doing otherwise will result in wasted time, money, and resources. Employees are there to grow the organization they work in and improve on every level. To get the best of your staff members, it needs to be a two way street. As money is not good enough of a motivator anymore, you have to sit down with them and make a life plan with together. The first part has to relate to their professional career and what they can bring to the company. The second part has to be employee oriented on a personal level. Help them reaching one of their personal dream whatever it is. They might see themselves working for your company for only one to three years and move on to something completely differently and it is Okay. Reassure them that you will be helping them along their journey but in return while they work for your company they need to work with the best of their abilities. Integrity plays an immense role in people's life and self-consciousness. If they are understood and part of a family, people will always give their best in return. People's greatest feeling in life is to feel accepted and appreciated.

 

Self-development

The era of going to work, punching in & out and go home do your things has ended. Employees especially the younger ones are going to work but not just to work. They are working to expend their mind, get creative, bring new ideas and change the way things have been done for the longest time. Not every suggestion can be implemented but being heard, getting feedback (negative or positive) makes the whole difference for someone audacious enough to share his ideas. Investing in your employees’ mind has a huge return on investment event though it is really hard to quantify. Unfortunately there is no easy way to know the real return on investment (ROI) as it is not written anywhere in any accounting books. On the up side, investing in their mind will make them grow personally, learn about new things in a different field that might be applicable to your business. Finding new ways of doing things more efficiently which will result in a direct ROI if it is saving time, supplies or an important customer. Letting your people go to seminars, read a books, listen to podcasts, attending workshops or else will also get them away from their desks and give them extra room to breathe on top of feeling appreciated, everyone wins. The worst thing an employer can do is to be resistant to change. Many of you hear I am sure Steve Job’s quote “ The new is you”.  These are powerful and truthful words. One will learn, grow, change things and finally become obsolete leaving room for the new and that is the way life should be.  Just to clarify, this statement is not meant for you to go back to your business and change everything there is already in place, but rather take a look at what could be improved, be created and listening to employees, they have a lot to say. Unfortunately, most of the time it is the manager’s job to have them speak as employees will fear authority.

 

Flexible Schedules

In today’s world, people like to do things on their own time. We don’t call, we text for convenience of responding whenever we feel like it. Millennials like to work in the morning, the afternoon, in the evening or during night time. The new norm is no norm. Sure there is time for scheduled meetings and group work, but the vast majority of the time people work on their own computer by themselves. There is no reason why employees should stick to a desk from 8 to 5 just because it is the norm. It is boring, repetitive, and the cubicle enclosed environment shuts creativity resulting in not getting their full potential.  When working on a new project whether it’s in technology, sales, marketing, graphics, writing, engineers, etc. there is no reasons why an individual could not work in the morning, play in the afternoon and keep working on evenings or at night. In his work Let My People Go Surfing Yvon Chouinard has been able to implement that strategy before the technology era.  We are now in the cloud area in which nothing is saved on a desktop anymore. Dropbox will be your best friend as everyone can have access to any file anywhere, anytime. So why not give them the freedom as are lucky enough to work in the 21st century with all the tools we need. We simply need to use them. Not everyone’s maximum productivity is during day time. By giving employees a deadline in which needs to be respected, reviewing their work with them on set dates to clarify things, offering help or simply making sure something is done from a distance will also give the manager more time and freedom to focus on his/her tasks. Do not micromanage! There is nothing worst for Millennials than feeling someone is breathing down their necks. You will literally kill their flow, productivity and confidence as they will not feel trusted and fear of making mistakes. Get off their butt and simply keep a eye from a fair distance.  This generation is also known being travelers. The world is easily accessible for them and they want to explore. As the two week vacation norm here in North America is not nearly enough as most Millennials will not be working in their hometown. Going home during Christmas time, two weeks to go out and explore the world and probably another one for road trips and enjoying life with friends is want you as an employer will have requests for. This might sound really needy and unreasonable expectations to have but they know it is possible and doable without affecting their work performance as the office does not have to be at “the office”. They can easily go home or in anywhere in the world and keep working or be available when you need them. Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts are all free around the world and there is no reasons not to use these fantastic innovative tools which were not available in the past. In return, employees will develop loyalty and a feeling of appreciation from you by adapting to their lifestyle. You will be seen as the kick ass employer and you will get a load of resume as the word will be passed around and it does... very quickly. No more contracting recruiting agencies. On a side note, how many days are actually wasted at work because Millennials and even baby boomers, at this stage, are day dreaming and chatting instead of doing actual work? Help them make their dreams a reality and they will give you work with all their heart, sweat and soul. As employer you will now enjoy a happy and healthy work environment which is priceless for an organization.

 

Recognition

Recognizing great work is always a winner to keep employees what they excel at that applies on EVERY generation. It is simply human nature to like being recognized and being appreciated when overachieving or coming up with creative ideas that will save you company money or change things for better down the road. I came across so many companies that are ruining employees’ talent and creativity mostly due to the ideology that decisions and ideas can only come from senior management. There is no way a “green” employee can know better than them, seniors have experience. In some cases, this is true statement but in most cases it is not. How many companies are paying huge amount of dollars on external consultants to fix issues that an employee came up with a similar solution a few months ago? Listen to your people. They are the most valuable company asset, period.  They are spending over 40 hours a week at work. They are the most qualified individuals to explain what can be improve and even often how. Not everyone will speak out. Therefore it is important to create a trusting environment and make them speak. Hearing them out is one thing, listening to them and considering their ideas is another and it makes the whole difference. Implementing one of their ideas means the world to them. That person will fell like he/she actually contributed to the company in another way than just by doing his own repetitive tasks or working on redundant projects that are lined up on the desk. It creates momentum and that is what keeps people productive and within your organization.

 

Do good

As mention earlier, the younger generation are not only looking to punch in and out to get an income anymore. They are looking to do good and have a positive impact in everything their undertake. It is true that money can still buy the offset of job that nobody else would do otherwise because it is either very boring, not very fulfilling, harms a third party or is in a remote location. Make a job description and purpose around something that creates value and will do good for another organization, person, group of people, environment, or simply creating the future in a certain field. If something that is going against or around a law and / or common sense they will most likely not like doing it, let alone doing it at all. Integrity plays an immense role in their decision making process.

 

Final word

This article has been focusing on Millennials but what we often forget to take into consideration is that baby boomers and generation X also mature and evolve over time. They might not be as trendy when it comes to technology or lifestyle but they are seeing the shift that is happening and the shift is also happening to them as they share their environment with the Millennials on a daily basis. Boomers realized what is possible and having a purpose, getting flexible hours, being recognized for their hard work and doing something good makes a lot of sense and want to be part of is as they are now surrounded by this new life philosophy. I think we are wrong when we put all baby boomers in the same box as a lot of them evolved with the Millennials (being their kids) and are having this mentality pivot as well. Millennials are not lazy or entitled (O.k. some are) they only want to be recognize and being taken care of, by doing so, you will get the most out of them and excellent work at any time of the day whenever needed. I now challenge you to try it and watch the shift.