According to Gallup, only 29 percent of Millennials are engaged at work (emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company), which is why about 60 percent of Millennials say they are open to a different job opportunity. This Millennial engagement epidemic and the turnover costs associated with it are costing the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.
Seventy-five percent of the 2025 global workforce will be Millennials and Generation Z. For organizations with a growing Millennial workforce, it's critical to reengage Millennials to avoid the high recruiting, training, and productivity costs associated with employee disengagement.
With a workforce that is 80 percent Millennials, VaynerMedia--the full-service digital agency founded by Gary Vaynerchuk--believes creating more company heart is the solution to better engage their 600-plus Millennial employees.
I recently interviewed VaynerMedia's "chief heart officer," Claude Silver, about how creating company heart can engage and retain Millennial talent. (Listen to the full interview here.)
1. Choose honey over vinegar.
One of Vaynerchuk's goals for VaynerMedia is to "create the greatest human organization in the history of time." How will the company achieve it? Silver says by being a "honey empire." A honey empire is the blending of a flat organization where everyone is treated as an equal (honey) and a meritocracy where talent is chosen and moved ahead based on their achievement (empire).
According to Silver, a honey empire is all about "putting people first and ... doing right by people." Making company decisions that don't make sense on paper but that make sense in the heart is why Silver's chief heart officer role was created and how VaynerMedia plans to engage and retain Millennials moving forward.
2. Monitor the company pulse.
It seems natural that someone with the word heart in her title should be concerned about the pulse of the organization. Silver uses Gmail to send pulse surveys--short and frequent surveys designed to keep a pulse on a team or organization--to different employees at various times. The pulse surveys include one to three questions that elicit honest and in-depth feedback that goes directly to Silver. The goal of the pulse surveys is to create data that can be acted on.
The pulse surveys also offer employees the option to signify their level of engagement or satisfaction with work. Silver will reach out to employees who have used angry, frustrated, or sad emojis and ask for a "check-in." She also does the same for those who mark themselves as happy. Keeping a finger on the pulse of all of the 800 employees, no matter their experience and office location, is a huge priority for Silver. And the "check-ins" allow Silver to move Millennials from a "place of angst to a place of you are heard."
3. Lead with the heart.
Employee engagement and employee experience tend to get a lot of lip service within organizations. At VaynerMedia, company heart starts at the top, with Vaynerchuk injecting empathy into all of his employee interactions, changing the Human Resources department name to "People and Experience," and finding leaders who lead with the heart.
VaynerMedia is winning at Millennial engagement because Vaynerchuk and Silver are leaders who lead with humanity and "intuitively get people."
Silver wholeheartedly sees and wants to celebrate what makes people unique. Her mission is to create the conditions for teams to thrive. She sets people up to grow and shine and gets them to a place where they want to turn their fellow employees into champions as well. Her authentic communications and genuine connections with people are what keeps Millennials engaged and wanting more.
4. Support whole-person growth.
"The level of perfectionism and anxiety that Millennials bring into the workplace is unbelievably high," says Silver. "It's up to leaders to provide the lessons and guidance to Millennials." The most effective way to lead the emerging generations is by coaching--guiding them through their self-directed learning, mistakes, and successes.
Silver holds "north star sessions" where she whiteboards employee's values, leadership skills, and career paths, ultimately coaching and guiding them to identify their purpose statement. Silver understands that belonging and connection are important to Millennials, and so she makes it a high priority to see and develop the whole person so they can "bring their best self to work."
5. Abandon ego and envy.
"Being open to being a guide, open to not always being right, and humble enough to know you don't have all the answers is important for leaders [of Millennials]," says Silver. Silver urges leaders to drop any ego or envy when leading Millennials.
Silver encourages leaders of Millennials to lead with heartfelt curiosity. "Lean into diversity ... be open to receiving the gifts [Millennials] have to offer ... lead from a place of humility, not authority," says Silver. Being mindful, humble, and full of humanity is how Silver successfully pours heart into the organization and how she has created a loyal tribe of Millennial employees.
6. Deliver radical candor.
Read this to learn how Silver is using radical candor to engage and retain Millennials.
Hear my full interview with Claude Silver by clicking here.
I help companies better lead, engage, train, and sell to Millennials and Generation Z. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.