How understanding the needs of millennial employees can improve your businessMindthriller
Q As an employer and a manager of Generation X, who manages a workforce of millennials, I would like to understand them better. Is there any information you can give me which will give me a better insight into how to understand millennials?
A Millennials is the name given to those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s and it is expected that they will make up 75pc of the workforce by 2025. Millennials were the first to grow up and work in the digital age and so the way in which they remain engaged and motivated in their employment journeys is different to the generations before them such as Generation X and Baby Boomers.
Millennials know that getting the job done is about being innovative and working across fields. They are optimistic, confident, committed and can be hugely creative. Largely they are well educated, determined and driven. Furthering their education is of great importance to them and career progression, training opportunities, and personal development are considered far more important than financial reward. They consider work-life balance as key to their career.
They ensure that the company mission aligns with their own ideals and ambitions. They want to know that they will be a valued member of the workforce and will be given the opportunity to grow and develop within the company.
More and more, we are seeing how millennials demand more flexible working hours and, with advanced technology, companies have proved this can be a success.
The best way to maximise the millennial’s potential is by giving them clear instructions, a timeframe to get the work done and the scope to use their initiative. Employers should be aware of the importance of employee engagement and personal development plans to the millennial. Employee engagement involves team-building, motivation, and empowerment together.
Personal development plans can be created following the annual or biannual performance appraisal. Performance appraisals are an opportunity to discuss individual performance and provide detailed feedback. It’s important to note that millennials are less likely to remain in a company as a loyal employee if they feel their personal goals and ideals are not being fulfilled, so this must be considered for talent retention purposes, given there has been an increase in employment opportunities in recent years.
If as an employer you are ensuring to effectively manage your millennial employees, this would also ensure there is an increase in employee engagement. Benefits of employee engagement include increased productivity, producing ultimately better results. Employees are happier, more engaged and more involved in achieving the aims and goals of the business.
In an attempt to understand millennials better, I think it’s important to review the results of a Deloitte survey conducted this year. It outlined that many millennials take on a business’s motivations and ethics. One of the most worrying results from the survey also outlined the dangers of business leaders losing their strongest millennial workers as a result of their goals and valued not being aligned.
According to the survey, only 48pc of millennials now believe corporations behave ethically. This has fallen from 68pc based on the same survey which was conducted last year. This fall is also accompanied by a 15pc decrease in the number of millennials that believe employers are committed to helping improve society. Although millennials are aware that profits are a priority in business, they also believe that companies should focus on a broader balance of objectives such as making a positive influence on society.
If employers want to retain talent, they will need to start showing their employees that they can make a positive change both within the business, society and the world. If employers fail to acknowledge the changing trend, talented employees will look for employment with a company that does. There is a lot of conflicting information out there based on millennials as employees. Although it has been shown that they share values in relation to their employment, they can’t all be painted with the same brush and must be individually managed and motivated.
Caroline McEnery, managing director of The HR Suite, is a member of the Low Pay Commission and is an adjudicator in the Workplace Relations Commission