Culture matters: How to engage Millennials

Today’s young professionals, the members of the Millennial generation, pose the biggest employee engagement challenge companies have ever encountered.

Also known as Generation Y, Generation Next, or Echo Boomers, Millennials have different career priorities than previous generations. Often misunderstood, they can appear to lack commitment to their jobs. However, the true problem is that employers often measure commitment by standards that apply primarily to previous generations.

The key to understanding Millennials is recognizing that they don’t see the value of top-down, one-way, ask-no-questions management. They crave a work environment where they have the power to make real contributions and be recognized for them. Equally important for Millennials is working for a company that fits in with their long term goals. They don’t just want a job; they want to do something that is meaningful and adds to their life in a positive way.

Millennials focus on corporate culture

Millennials, when considering an employer, hone in on the corporate culture and what a company stands for. They won’t accept a job or engage once they are hired unless they like both the business’s culture and can envision how their job contributes to the organization’s overall success; and if they can see how the organization contributes to the overall good of society, even better. They want their jobs to have meaning beyond completing tasks. When evaluating their organization, Millennials also look for opportunities for career advancement and the freedom to drive their careers.

Enterprise career management is how smart companies capitalize on this characteristic of Millennials. From the young workers’ first day on the job, these businesses engage them by actively showing the advancement opportunities that are available within the company. They also engage them by career management practices that help them forge their own paths. In addition, savvy companies make a constant effort to let Millennials know how their job affects the company overall.

Adapt training to suit Millennials

Training is also crucial to engaging Millennials, who expect their sense of fitting into the company culture to be expressed in their daily routine. Training that encourages peer-to-peer collaboration to break down barriers and promote team-building is an effective strategy for Millennials. Promote knowledge sharing and storytelling. When employees share what they know and their experiences, they start talking and listening. Working in collaborative teams is one of the Millennials’ strengths.

Above all, provide immediate feedback and performance assessments throughout training and beyond. Members of this generation want to know right away how they are doing instead of waiting for one final test or an annual performance evaluation.

Millennials have unique capabilities that open new opportunities. Employers, however, will have to rethink their approach to managing and training the newest generation of professionals in order to keep them engaged and reap the benefits of their gifts.

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