By the time companies find their way to me to deliver a keynote to their employees about workplace engagement and empowerment, many of their top young professionals have already checked out beyond repair. In other words, they've made up their mind that they're quitting their job and leaving for another employer.
Here are a few reasons why they choose to leave:
· They don't have a good relationship with their manager.
· They're not receiving ongoing professional development.
· They don't feel valued.
· They're not engaged with their work.
· They haven't been promoted or recognized for their work.
The one key thing that's missing here? Money. And that's intentional. Because it's rarely about the money. In fact, a survey from Fidelity found that young professionals would give up nearly $8,000 of their salary for things like career development opportunities.
Instead, their young careers often wither under neglect, when what they actually need is a nurturing environment to help them develop into engaged employees who grow into leaders and managers. But how can employers mine the amazing young talent on their teams when they're bogged down with daily tasks and responsibilities?
Here are three simple steps managers can take right now to increase engagement and empowerment in the workplace, for workers of all ages:
1. Provide ongoing feedback: Sharing is caring
As a manager, you're busy and don't have time to hold someone's hand. Good. Don't. Instead, lead them. A simple way to do this is providing regular feedback. Provide clarity on your department or organization's mission, goals and what role they play in it. Provide details about their day-to-day responsibilities and what you expect from them long-term. Answer their questions. Tell them how they're doing. Give meaningful suggestions and pats on the back when due. A global survey found that millennial employees crave feedback 50% more often than their older colleagues.
2. Provide growth opportunities: It doesn't always have to be a promotion
Like all of us, young professionals crave forward progress in their careers. Unfortunately, they're not getting it. According to a Gallup report, millennials are the least engaged generation of employees in the office due to lack of momentum.
So how can you improve workplace engagement? Creating growth opportunities. One way to do this is to provide training workshops or programs in different disciplines. Offer a learning track that provides real certifications that are respected within your company. So instead of waiting two years for that promotion, employees regularly experience growth opportunities and hit key milestones that keeps them engaged.
3. Provide individual & group coaching: Set employees up for success
Would you wait until your engine was on fire to change the oil? Obviously not. Unfortunately, for too long coaching was perceived as a solution for employees who were failing or struggling. Thank goodness this paradigm is shifting and coaching is now viewed as a reward for high-performers. When a team or individual is excelling, this is actually the ideal time to institute a coaching program.
Coaching can help identify opportunities for growth, improve emotional intelligence, facilitate better team dynamics, get to the core of what's important for staff, and prepare them for increased responsibilities.
All of the above equates to being proactive and putting the interests of your employees first. If you do this, you'll have a more engaged, creative, and productive workforce that's primed to deliver awesome business results. Remember: Invest in your employees, and they'll invest in you.