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Keeping your top millennial talent engaged


Guest Column: Emmanuel Zvada

Nowadays millennials have taken over the workforce worldwide. Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce and as more millennials graduate from college or universities and find jobs, that number will only continue to grow. They are tech-savvy, adaptable, and creative. But they also have a unique set of expectations and demands.
Millennials are said to be a difficult bunch to engage in the workplace, but to retain them organisations must understand how to meet their career needs and goals.

Why are millennials different

Every generation has considered itself a little bit different and accommodating these variances is something that management need to look at. To some millennials are people born between the years 1985 and 1990, but some have also increased them to 1990 and 1996 since some of them are already working class. Their skills and abilities are needed to help companies develop new talent, as well as stay innovative and in touch. In actual fact workplace engagement is high on the agenda as far as millennials are concerned because they expect jobs to be stimulating and they want their input to matter.

Baby boomers are currently the largest generation of active workers and they identify their strengths as organisational memory and their willingness to work long hours, in fact they have this attachment with the company as they categorise themselves as pioneers. Millennials have a drastically different outlook on what they expect from their employment experience. Millennials are skilled in technology, very self-confident, able to multi-task, and have plenty of energy. They have high expectations for themselves, and prefer to work in teams, rather than as individuals. Millennials seek challenges, yet work life balance is of utmost importance to them.

Millennials have grown up in a time where information has become accessible promptly. Through a Google or Wikipedia search, answers to even quite complicated questions can be found. Millennials love technology and they appreciate how high-tech tools flatten organisational hierarchies and bureaucracies. As a result, they are looking for businesses that encourage digital collaboration in the decision-making processes. They also want to work on new and tough problems, and ones that require creative solution for the benefit of the company.

Mentorship and coaching

Organisations seeking to hire and retain the most talented young workers should design a career development programme that includes coaching and mentoring. While they are known for changing jobs too often, millennials are also highly loyal to their mentors. If the mentor gains their respect and take them on their shoulders they will try to stay with that person for as long as they can through their career. Creating a coaching and mentoring environment is one of the best ways to ensure that your millennials employees feel secure and valued. That, in turn, will help you maintain a competitive edge and also will make them feel engaged thus retaining them.

Career growth should be provided.

Career progression is a high priority for millennials and they expect their employer to prepare them for a professional career growth. They need to see opportunities to grow, if it means growing up with the organisation or being also promoted or elevated to higher responsibilities when they are capable of delivering results. To retain millennial talent employers, need to ensure their employees are engaged and satisfied at work always. They need to show commitment to helping their staff grow and develop, providing structured training and opportunities that allow millennial workers to achieve their career goals.

Millennials are very career oriented and quite impatient when it comes to their growth. If they see themselves going nowhere with a job, they would eventually switch to a different company to fulfill that need. Job hopping is greater to millennials in that instance. They need to be given enough chances to showcase their talents by assigning challenging tasks. Employers looking to retain millennial employees should consider giving them the option to move around the business to find a position that better suits their desired career path.

Rewarding of millennial talent

The key to millennial happiness at work lies in recognition. Employers should use incentive programmes to motivate millennials and boost their performance levels always. If millennial workers feel they are not being paid enough, they will be more likely to leave to other employers. Companies need to evolve and adjust when it comes to rewarding millennials. A stable pay package or promotion are not the only motivators in retaining this group of workers. Providing professional learning opportunities to allow them to pick up new skills or work experience is a way to help them learn and grow, it can help in keeping them engaged.

Millennial employees are harder to keep and every manager knows that. They constantly switch jobs and refuse to settle with anything for a long time. But they are also known for their great potential and value in organisations if managed properly. Offering attractive packages to the millennials can also contribute in making them feel engaged thus reducing turnover rate to organisations.

Openness and transparency

Millennials expect a culture of transparency and for management to be upfront on why decisions are made. As management you need to keep them informed and satisfy their sense of purpose by helping them understand how their purpose links to company values. Millennials will be more engaged and committed if they are informed on matters that affects their work. This transparency leads to trust and helps millennials stay loyal, engaged and gain empowerment with an organisation.

Opportunities and freedom

Millennials are full of ideas and potential to do great things. While these ideas are often suppressed they never seem to run out of new ones. They want their knowledge to be acknowledged and enough opportunities to provide their insights. In that way they feel that their input is being valued. If they feel not valued millennials are also highly-prone to depression and their depression can even affect co-workers or cause sabotage.

One of the things that millennials desire most is the freedom to do things their own way, but which does not affect production. If you give them that choice, they would prefer to stay with you as very few companies do that. While many consider their actions to be inconsistent, millennials are well known for their out of the box thinking, which makes all the difference and helps in creating exponential innovative organisations.

Hire more so that they fit in your company.

Another fact about millennials is that they mostly just associate with their own generation at work place or in their own departments. They need association with people who share their perspective, culture, and views on a given situation. An organisation filled with mostly old age people will never be able to sustain millennial employees for long. As a result, it is important to hire more diversely from all age groups and cultures as it will help in maintaining a synergy in your workplace and provide all the different perspectives in every situation.

It is important to know that millennials have entered a professional world where their realities are wildly different from the ones boomers knew. They prioritise things that don’t make sense to boomers because their environment has different demands. Baby boomers have also certain expectations of young employees based on their own experience which might not be true. As managers it will be best to make sure we manage both boomers and millennials, find common ground that will improve the performance and productivity of organisations.

 Emmanuel Zvada is a human capital consultant/international recruitment expert and author. He writes in his personal capacity.

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