Millennial's are now the largest group in the workforce, and according to Gallup Research, just 29 percent are engaged. This means that 71% are either disengaged or actively disengaged which is going to have a negative impact on their performance and the results that they generate. Millennial's have different views and desires to previous generation, and as leaders, the better you can understand and act on them, the more effective a leader you will be.
Here are 9 tips that leaders can use to engage Millennial's and generate better results.
1 - Be Connected
Whether you like it or not we currently live in an era of social media, where people can have access to practically anyone movie stars, pop stars, and even Presidents. That means that your teams are going to be looking to be connected to you. So not only do you need to be on social media, but you need to be open to connecting with them. This will make them feel closer to you, it will help build a stronger connection. It will also give them a channel to communicate with you, where they may share things they wouldn't be willing to share in more formal channels. I can't tell you how many issues that were brought to my attention over Facebook which helped me avoid them turning into failures.
2 - Create a Sense of Purpose
Millennial's are not just coming to work to pick up a paycheck; they are looking for their work to have a greater impact in the world. Take the time to explain the benefits of the work that they are doing, don't just talk about it in terms of revenue and profits, look to show them the greater good that they are contributing to.
3 - Give Them Opportunities That Will Stretch Them
Millennial's are looking to develop and grow their skills. Find opportunities that will push them out of their comfort zones, giving them the opportunity to learn something new.
4 - Look to Support and Nurture Your Staff
People want to feel that they work with you rather than for you. When you offer support and are nurturing that helps foster that feeling. Gone are the days of command and control leadership, that style is no longer effective, and I doubt that it ever was. You need to be a coach and a mentor looking to help them to achieve their full potential.
5 - Make Them Feel Valued
It's the little things that make all the difference, saying please, thank you, listening, or asking people for their opinions. We don't always need to act on them but we make people feel important and valued when we do these, and it helps build stronger connections and engagement.
6 - Give Up Control
The days of needing to be in the office Monday to Friday 9-5 are long gone, and yet some managers still insist on full attendance because they believe it gives them more control. Those leaders who can give up a bit of this control, and allow some flexibility, where the staff has input on where and when they work, will reap the benefits. This doesn't mean 100% flexibility, it could just be giving them the option one day per week, or even per month.
7 - Provide Timely Feedback
Millennial's want to get real-time feedback at a point when they can use it, not in some annual review a few months later. Take the time when you see someone that needs some guidance to give it there and then. It will have more impact, it will be appreciated, and it's more likely to be remembered and acted upon.
Remember feedback needs to be supportive even when people need to improve their performance, the only thing people remember for constructive criticism is the criticism.
8 - Be Tolerant of Mistakes
Mistake are all part of the learning process, and you need to provide a safe environment where people know that if they make a mistake, they will be supported, and given the assistance needed to improve.
That doesn't mean that people can make the same mistakes over and over again without and consequence, but it does mean they will be offered at least a second chance.
9 - Give Praise
Reward and recognition are what drives any organization towards success. It lets people know what they did was appreciated, and it encourages them to do it again. Millennial's have a reputation for feeling entitled, and winning trophies for finishing 7th, but that doesn't mean that praise should be kept to a minimum. On the contrary, the more genuine praise you provide, the more engaged and the better the results your team will achieve.
Leadership is all about driving engagement, empowerment and supporting your teams to achieve greatness, if you can adopt these tips they will support you in that goal.