Okay, don’t seriously forget the free food. Maybe just the foosball tables – only because, I don’t know how to play.
I must say, hearing that there was unexpected free food in the kitchen definitely brought sunlight to dark days at work. And the Lunch and Learns, oh I wouldn’t miss them. I was there on time to collect and savor.
Still, do benefits like free food, game rooms, fitness reimbursements, and other office perks truly retain millennial employees? No. They don’t. In reality, less than 1% of young professionals care about free food and perks.
And, since two-thirds of millennials plan to leave their jobs within the next four years, my guess is that free food and perks is not cutting it.
So what is it? What do millennials want? What qualities should businesses have if they’re interested in not only attracting but also retaining their younger employees?
Here are 5 things businesses should implement to increase engagement and retention amongst millennials, and employees in all generational brackets.
Work-life balance. Work-life blend. Work-life integration. Work-life harmony. Whatever you call it, we all need it.
Regardless of age, we all have responsibilities in and outside of work that require our attention. Often times, the obligations of millennials outside of the workplace are discredited. They’re not deemed as serious or important. Sure, not all of us have to attend our daughter’s volleyball match across town and we may not have a 20 year-anniversary to celebrate with our spouse but our commitments outside of work are just as important to maintaining our sanity as anyone else’s.
Likewise, of course, we shouldn’t spend our downtime at work sifting through our social media pages. But, occasionally we will have to call our cable company at 10 a.m. to check to see why our bill is so high this month.
Or, we may have to peruse the internet to check the reviews for the dentist we’re thinking about seeing for our annoying toothache. Life doesn’t stop just because we’re at work, just as much as work sometimes does not stop just because we’re at home.
Life doesn’t stop just because we’re at work, just as work sometimes does not stop just because we’re at home.
Millennials are goals and results driven and “9 to 5” is quickly becoming a relative term. We desire to get the job done and we do want to do our job well. Yet, somedays that may require us spending 10 hours in the office, while other days we may only need to be there for 6. We would prefer not to be qualified by the amount of hours we spend at work and rather by the number of accomplishments we bring to the table.
Busy work is dead. Quite frankly, it should have been dead way before we hopped onto the employment scene. We do not like stapling stacks of papers for a meeting we have no idea about. We don’t see the point of doing research for an opportunity that we will not be given the chance to voice our opinion on.
And, there’s no reason for us to stay at work late working on a project we’ll never hear about again. We want responsibilities that matter. We want to know our work adds value. We want to make an impact.
This reality is evident in the fact that 71% of millennials are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work (according to Harvard Business Review). At some point, all millennials, who don’t even know each other, cannot be blamed for this demise.
At some point, all millennials cannot be blamed for this demise.
Managers, begin to analyze the types of tasks prescribed to your team members. When dishing out tasks, ask yourself: “Do these initiatives truly align with the goals of the company and with the goals of the person I’m asking to complete the task?”
If you don’t know the goals of your team members? Ask. Find out.
Let us in. We understand that sometimes you may be pressed for time but give us some context and background information, rather than just throwing the project our way and walking away. You’ll certainly see better engagement, if you do.
A POSITIVE, IMPACTFUL CULTURE
Culture in today’s age is incredibly important. Rightfully so, the word “culture” has become a buzz word in the media but it’s not to be tossed to the side or taken lightly. Every company has a culture, whether you purposefully construct it or not.
So, what is yours? What traditions does your company have? What are the no no’s and yes yes’ at your company? How do employees interact with each other? Is progress celebrated or are most people stagnant? What is the mission of your company? The answers to these questions and others may either be leading millennials towards your company or pushing us away.
Your culture could be leading millennials towards your company or pushing them away.
We want to be at a company that radiates a positive and thriving culture. Anything less than positive, impactful and forward-thinking could make us wonder why we’re here in the first place.
The good thing is that even as a manager, you can shape the culture of your team. We want to know our company cares about us and values making a difference just as much as it cares about reaching this month’s revenue quota.
CONSISTENT FEEDBACK & MENTORSHIP
Annual performance reviews are great and all—but we need more. We need consistent and continuous feedback. Many people may see millennials need for feedback as negative or annoying. Yet, we value feedback because it helps us do our jobs. We want to know that we are living up to our potential. Effective feedback opens us up to our strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement.
Feedback helps us do our jobs more effectively.
Similar to feedback, mentorship show us the ropes. It’s easy for someone to look at someone else and say I wish I could be like them or I wish that one day I can work on the projects they work on or handle conflict the way they handle it.
Yet, mentorship shows us how. It leads the way. It gives us someone to go to for professional advice and certifies that we have someone in our corner as we progress up our career ladder.
Sure, there are various types of mentorships, but starting off with at least one type of mentorship program will set everyone on the right path. Not only does mentorship offer junior staff the ability to develop their own leadership skills, but also it cultivates healthy and beneficial relationships between senior and junior employees.
ROOM TO GROW
As much as we desire consistent feedback, we also need to know that the implementation of said feedback will lead to something – a promotion, responsibility or opportunity we enjoy. We’re all for learning and developing, but we’ll be more pleased to know that there is clear room to grow.
This is a major issue that is not successfully addressed. In a recent Gallup survey, 87% of millennials say development is important to them in a job, yet only 39% said that they learned something new in the past 30 days that they can use to do their jobs better. We truly despise stagnancy, which is probably why millennials are known to job hop.
Don’t just tell us that you want us to be great, give us opportunities to develop and to show you that we are great. Start off with little projects that allow us to sharpen our leadership abilities or that offer us the ability to grow in a particular area. The small things matter too. At the very least, it shows us that there’s room to grow.
Don’t just tell us that you want us to be great, give us opportunities to become great.
Overall, we truly desire to live a purposeful balanced life, even if others don’t believe it’s possible. We want to work hard at things we actually believe in and we want to do it around people who share the same values and principles. We want to know that at the end of it all our efforts will not be in vain and that we will grow, advance and achieve greater heights, with the help of feedback from our mentors and leaders.
Is that so hard to ask? Well, I guess it depends on who you’re asking.