As of 2015, the millennial demographic is the largest group in the U.S. workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics). With a continually growing millennial workforce, the millennial generation will account for 43 percent of employees by 2020, moving into increasingly senior and business-critical roles. Having grown up in a transitory time in tandem with the proliferation of digital technology, millennial employees have the experience, skills and attitude to potentially make them the most productive generation in history. And as millennial customers come to dominate many markets, their insight as employees is vital to shaping your products and services.
But to achieve this, organizations have to provide the right combination of leadership and motivation. A crucial element that many struggle to achieve. Research from Gallup found that just 29 percent of millennial employees report that they are engaged at work. Notably, six of ten millennials also say they are open to switching jobs. Only half of millennials surveyed plan to be with their company a year from now. Similar research from Deloitte found that two out of three millennial employees expected to have changed jobs by 2020. How are enterprises recruiting, and most importantly retaining, the millennial workforce?
Manage millennial employees in the workplace
Given their importance, how can you engage with millennial employees, understand their needs and retain their skills? Studies show that millennials value variety and new experiences; these drivers mean constantly challenging them in the workplace and giving them opportunities to develop. An important concept in development is continuous feedback; millennials want to know how they are doing, and simultaneously, give feedback on the performance of managers and colleagues. They desire this much more frequently than previous generations. Managing millennials in the workplace means providing constant feedback, not just praise, but also thoughtful and constructive criticism that allows them to improve.
According to millennial employees, being heard is one of the key elements for them to thrive in the workplace. This means the traditional methods of employee engagement and performance management, such as annual surveys and yearly performance reviews, simply don’t meet the needs of millennial employees. Engaging millennials require different methods. After all, what value is the annual cycle if, as Gallup’s research suggests, 50 percent of millennials have moved on between surveys or reviews?
Understand millennials using new feedback types
Millennials require new forms and frequencies in employee engagement. Annual surveys are no longer enough. As such, an increasing number of enterprises are switching to always-on feedback models, backed up by weekly check-ins with managers. Yet, while most businesses recognize the importance of millennial engagement and understand that they need to change, many are unsure how to accomplish this. Enterprises often worry that changing how they collect and act on feedback will be complicated, add costs and be resource-intensive to execute. However, this is far from the truth. Modern feedback solutions can now collect all types of feedback, from the annual survey to always-on, through a single, easy-to-use, centralized platform. These solutions can integrate information, and then, make it available to the entire organization in real-time. Not only does this help you get closer to what your millennial employees are thinking, centralization also brings down costs and lets you listen to all your people all the time.
Millennial employees are increasingly vital to enterprises. Now is the time to ensure your feedback programs enable you to truly listen, create a dialogue and act on what millennials are saying if you want to retain their skills moving forward.
About the Author
Volker Wylutzki-Böhme | Head of Enterprise Sales Germany
With more than 15 years of experience in international software companies, Volker Wylutzki-Böhme is currently responsible for the key account segments in Questback Central Europe. Feedback and data-driven topics have accompanied and inspired him throughout his career. In the field of digital change, Volker is a proponent of creating a culture of sustainable dialogue as the ideal companion to employees; at the same time, through his experience assisting international enterprises, team feedback is an agile instrument essential to measuring the pulse of the organization.