The Secret to Engaging Millennials – the Most Dominant Generation in the Workforce

In 2015, the ‘Millennials’ (those born between 1980 and the mid 1990’s) over-took the ‘Baby Boomers’ in population, making them the largest generation in Western history. The first generation to grow up alongside the rise of technology meaning they have no experience of a world where mobile phones, internet, cameras, blogs, or email did not exist. Their view of the world is fundamentally different to their predecessors; a smaller, interconnected global community where anyone anywhere is reachable. They also possess a high degree of technical savvy in the modern day’s fast paced, digital-fuelled society, and are accustomed to fast communication.

More and more Millennials enter the workforce each year. In fact Deloitte predicts that in ten years time 70% of the workforce will be Millennials. Business executives, CEO’s, HR professionals, marketers and managers all over the world are therefore keen to learn about Millennials behaviours and beliefs, because the strength of the marketplace depends heavily on what this generation can achieve. If they are not engaged at work then the profitability, productivity and innovation at their company will suffer. What’s concerning is that the Millennials are the least engaged generation to date; Gallup estimates that only 29% are engaged with their jobs. They’ve also grown accustomed to looking for job options elsewhere if their current job isn’t giving them compelling reasons to stay. This is a costly characteristic of the generation; Millennial turnover costs the US economy an estimated $30.5 billion a year (Gallup).

So how do we keep Millennials engaged and loyal to their current employer? Gallup’s How Millennials Want to Live and Work report found that performance management and a constant focus on regular feedback is a huge contributor and pays large dividends in engagement and performance.

Interestingly, 44% of millennial workers who meet regularly with their manager and give and receive frequent feedback are engaged, compared to just 20% that do not. This is a massive disparity, and illustrates how something so simple as regular feedback and meetings can drastically improve engagement amongst the workforce. In turn, higher engagement levels also lead to a host of other benefits including improved customer ratings, higher profitability and productivity, lower turnover, fewer safety incidents and lower absenteeism. Being strict with regular catch-ups with Millennials, or using fast-feedback tools (hint: Motivii) will drive engagement and ultimately allow businesses to reap the benefits amongst other factors company-wide.

In summary, Millennials have grown up with the ability to communicate with anyone instantly, and so they are much more likely to expect it in the workforce. The more conversations Millennials have with their manager, the more engaged they will become; these two components have become intrinsically linked. Businesses need to acknowledge this and those that do not listen, and still rely on annual or infrequent staff surveys and meetings, will fall behind as Millennials increasingly dominate the workforce.