They probably don’t remember life before the Internet, they know more reality stars than movie stars, and they are always waiting for the next smart phone release.
The millennial generation, now 18-35 years old and 79 million strong, is taking over the workforce and tossing out the established rules as they do.
Baby boomers have been known to refer to the younger generation as entitled, spoiled, and lazy, but Millennials are more likely to describe themselves as innovative, tech-savvy, and open-minded.
The truth is, members of the millennial generation, or Gen-Y, view employment, motivation, and recognition differently than any generation before them and businesses will need to adapt in order to thrive.
With that in mind, here are three ways you can harness the power of the Millennials for your business:
1. Make It More Than A Job
Prior generations saw employment as a necessity to earn a living. Millennials are looking for more than a paycheck (or a direct deposit notification). They want to feel passionate about the work they do.
Many Millennials have a deep desire to change their corner of the world (or the entire thing) for the better, are creative thinkers, and are ready to offer fresh perspectives and unique opinions.
Managers can harness these attributes by being open to hearing (and implementing) the innovative ideas of even entry-level employees. Not only can this bring positive results, it will also help Millennials feel they are a valued part of the organization.
However, it’s not enough for most members of this generation to feel good about their work. They also want to feel a connection to the company. Start off strong, by building this connection by giving top candidates a branded item such as a stylus pen or small token at the end of their interview.
After hiring a new employee, offer plenty of opportunities for them to meet and bond with their new work family. For this new generation of employees, working for a great company is a status symbol; so let them show off by greeting them on their first day with a swag bag including personalized apparel and other items they can be proud of.
These simple touches tell your fresh-faced employees that your company is the place to be.
2. Offer Frequent Feedback and Recognition
This generation was the first to embrace text messaging, fast food, streaming video, and high-speed Internet. Everything is fast-paced, and most respond best to quick, frequent feedback.
This means the traditional annual review and bonus probably won’t meet their needs. Instead, aim for feedback that is less formal feedback on a quarterly, weekly and even daily basis.
There’s no need to make this a time-consuming or expensive endeavor. Managers can provide drive-by reinforcement to employees by simply stopping by their desks for a word of praise and a high-five.
Not only does this serve as informal feedback; it further establishes the much-needed personal connection.
On a slightly less frequent basis, it’s a good idea to reward meeting quarterly goals or completing a large project with a tangible item. Look for tech-savvy items such as portable charging devices, or phone cases or electronics.
3. Get Social
It’s no secret that the Millennial generation has a love affair with social media. Though posting on personal Facebook account while on the clock might be a office issue, social media offers a powerful tool that managers can use to connect with employees.
This generation lives their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Harness the trend by praising individual employees or teams on social media and tagging them in the posts.
Though it may seem daunting at first, these few tips should help you understand and relate to your Gen-Y employees, while boosting productivity.
What do you do to motivate your Gen-Y employees?