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Engaging the Next Generation of Work: 5 Points to Consider

Engagement has traditionally be seen as a binary issue; like it can be addressed as a simple, stand-alone topic. But engagement is more than a single focus; it is a buy-in to an organizational culture, investment in the success of the organization, and the feeling of empowerment to make a meaningful impact while at work. Millennials crave the ability to make a lasting impact, contribute past what their job scope has traditionally allowed them to do, and live a life that isn’t focused on the traditional work-life balance, but more along the lines of work-life integration. Hyper-connectivity and a passion to make a difference can be leveraged, not discouraged. Here are several things for executives and HR leaders alike to consider when engaging Millennials:

1: What are the differentiators of the job post?

Long past are the days where salary attraction and brand recognition are the first things jobseekers search for when scouring LinkedIn, job boards, or career pages for positions. How does your company differentiate its culture over the countless industry competitors, and why should this potential employee pick you? Engaging Millennials starts before the position is filled. Picking the right person for the job is absolutely imperative when ensuring high levels of engagement.

2. How are you articulating your company’s culture?

You have a vibrant, open culture that allows for constant communication and mentorship across various levels of leadership and experience throughout the company. Great, so does everyone else. Consider testimonials and real-life stories from new hires that can tell a prospective employee first-hand what working at your company is like.
At job fairs, ensure that not only individuals responsible for hiring are there, but also someone who is in the position you are looking to fill. A great way to articulate the position and the culture of the workplace is by having someone who is living the position selling it. Who knows, the person may be selling the position to their new co-worker.

3. Are you providing an environment that allows constant learning?

Too often Millennials are blamed for job-hopping, lacking loyalty, and not being grateful for the experience they are given. Loosely translated, this is telling the employer that the individual is looking for a new challenge, new opportunities, and a way to better utilize their skills. Consider new teams, new problems, and new perspectives in order to get the most out of your Millennial employees. Sometimes a slight tweak in the day-to-day practice can create a whole new level of experience for employers and employees alike.

4. Are you in constant communication with your Millennials?

Daniel Pink’s Drive talks repeatedly about Mastery, Purpose, and Autonomy. While all of these are essential in a rapidly-evolving workplace, communication can never be left out to dry. Consider frequent check-ups and check-ins to understand what the needs of the employee are and how they can be constantly challenged, and how they feel they can be most useful to the company.

5. Invite your Millennials to the table

No, they don’t have the years of experience, and they don’t have the deep understanding of someone who has been at the table for a decade or two has, but Millennials do have a fresh perspective, the need to deliver, and they know they have to be prepared to be at the table.

Benjamin Franklin once said:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

While Millennials’ ideas may not be implemented, the value of understanding why their idea may not best fit the organization is immensely valuable in the development of their knowledge and expertise.

In summary, even though recent research suggests millennials are different than the generations before due to integration of technology, among other factors, Millennials still want the same things. They want to climb the ladder, they want to get paid, and they want to be good at what they do. Engaging a new generation is nothing more than empowering them and understanding what it takes for them to feel like they are making a positive impact on the company. Engagement doesn’t look like a ping-pong table in the lunch room; it looks like constant empowerment, appreciation, communication, mentorship, and leadership.

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