While millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in the workforce, it's also one of the least engaged—something employers are trying to change.
Seventy-one percent of millennials are not engaged or are actively disengaged from the workforce, Scott Sadler, an executive coach and millennial mentor, told participants at a preconference workshop during the CUNA Human Resources & Organizational Development Council Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas.
"Everything depends on deepening our understanding of how millennials live, work, and spend money," he says.
Three of Sadler's tips:
1. Focus on retention. Once you've hired a millennial, the next challenge is keeping them in their jobs. Seventy-percent of millennials leave their jobs within two years. On average, millennials will have 20 different jobs during their lifetime, Sadler says.
Start by changing your expectations, he says. Instead of telling millennial employees about the perks your credit union offers staff who have met milestones such as 10, 20, or 25 years of service, focus on smaller milestones, such as six months, 18 months, or at most three years.
"It's too scary to think beyond that," Sadler says.
At the same time, six in 10 millennials say they are open to different job opportunities and 50% say they expect to remain with their current employer in one year, he says.
2. Provide feedback. Millennials thrive on feedback and need a lot of it, Sadler says, but they don't often ask for it. Nineteen percent say they receive routine feedback, but only 17% report receiving "meaningful" feedback, Sadler says.
And providing feedback to millennials is key. Millennials who have regular meetings with their managers are more than two times likely to be engaged in the workplace.
But 56% of millennials say they meet with their managers less than once a month, while 21% meet with their managers weekly.
"Daily conversations are ideal," Sadler says, because engagement is higher among employees who meet with their manager at least once a week.
These meetings not only give managers an opportunity to provide millennials with the sought-after feedback, they also create structure in employees' jobs, which leads to increased engagement.
But when creating that structure ask for employee input because millennials—the most collaborative generation—find it important to have a voice and impact in decisions.
"Give the structure and then ask for their input to refine that structure," Sadler says.
3. Aim for balance. For 57% of millennials, a work-life balance and personal well-being in a job are very important. This group holds the view of "live and then work," Sadler says, which contrasts with baby boomers who "live to work" and Generation X who "work to live."
Consider finding an option that will allow millennials to pursue their passions, such as a flexible work schedule that will allow them to volunteer in the community, and see what impact it has on the employee's engagement levels. Be open to new ideas and understand some risks may be necessary.
Also, understand that talking about nonwork-related issues might be key, Sadler says. Sixty-two percent of millennials who can have these conversations say they plan to remain with their current employer in a year, Sadler says.
"Life values happiness," he says."We can make this happen if you want to find way to keep millennials engaged."
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