Learn how I’ve built my company by hiring the largest workforce, Millennials.
The Millennial generation of young adults is rapidly reshaping the way we all view and think about employment. In fact my own company, StringCan Interactive, is primarily comprised of Millennial-aged employees and I personally love it. The negative press about this generation is not what I have been experiencing. According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Millennials will compose 50% of the workplace by 2020. On the flip side, a study by Deloitte found that 44% of Millennials seek to leave their jobs within the next two years. I’ve chosen to focus on the benefits of the new workforce generation and how we can both benefit during those hypothetical two years and beyond.
I often get asked for advice (more like clarification) from other entrepreneurs and business executives who have intentionally avoided hiring this generation. They think that I’m nuts! For a digital marketing agency, who has to constantly innovate or will likely die, there isn’t a better generation to collaborate with. I am constantly blown away by the creative ideas my team members bring to the table.
Here are a few tips that I have learned over the past few years to effectively communicate with millennials to improve workplace satisfaction and productivity.
Mentor. Consider their priorities and build upon their strengths.
Millennials expect personal fulfillment from their career instead of just punching the clock (and who shouldn’t?). A Mercer study quoted by the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School found that the top three workplace priorities for millennials were; compensation to reduce their student debt, flexible work schedules, and the ability to make a difference in the world.
To keep millennials more engaged in their job, you need to show them how they are truly making a difference and providing a unique perspective and skill set as opposed to doling out menial tasks. I find that my millennial employees crave mentorship in order to learn, improve their skills, and make an impact. As a mentor it’s my responsibility to think about how to best incorporate strengths into the job duties of my team members, and offer opportunities for knowledge production and growth. I want to be a positive guiding force in their lives. The lack of perceived loyalty to millennial workplaces can stem from feeling neglected or undervalued by their employers. Openly share your knowledge and expertise with your thirsty-for-growth millennial team. Allowing for an open dialogue can invite new and exciting ideas from your team while allowing them to further their in-depth understanding of your business and its goals. Building upon this mutual trust shows your employees that they, and their ideas, are valuable.
Connect. Stay innovative and current with technologies.
Keeping your technology current is a critical part of retaining the millennial workforce. Millennials have been raised surrounded by technology. They are constantly connected to each other with a click of a mouse or the tap of a screen. Consider implementing a variety of communication apps and software, like instant messaging, or custom-made apps and software for your business, which allows for the instant communication that is a part of millennials’ daily lives. Offer training to all of your employees to learn these new technologies so no one feels left behind. However, don’t pick up on the latest digital trend just because it’s hot. Be discerning and strategic, make sure that your technology solutions are clear, easy to use, and fit your business goals and strategies.
Communicate. Be open, honest and clear..
The sheer volume of outlets through which we can communicate is staggering and maybe a bit overwhelming. Now that you’ve connected your business to your millennial employees it’s time to rethink your communication strategy. This is the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy and beneficial relationship between you and your millennial employees. With all generational gaps, sometimes you feel as though you’re hearing a foreign language. Actively listening without forming an opinion or rebuttal can help you more clearly understand what is being communicated. When you respond, be as transparent as possible, listen, and keep each other on the same page so that respect is encouraged on both sides. Choosing the avenues through which you communicate particular items can be as valuable as what you’re communicating. For example, in my agency we use Voxer, a walkie-talkie app, for urgent items when we aren’t able to be in the office together. This type of technology helps our team stay on the same page even when working virtually and can convey tone, which email typically cannot. Email helps keep everyone in the loop with a ‘file’ to revisit, Google Hangouts for less urgent items and of course the old stand-by – phone call – for when that 2 page email just isn’t getting your point across. No matter what you decide to implement in your business, make sure you communicate clearly by reducing the fluff and get to the point. Millennials are sharp, quick to encourage and provide fresh new ideas.
Improving communication will benefit everyone in your workplace, not just millennials. It’s as simple as if you encourage them to reach their true potential, most likely they will do so. There is young talent out there to be found and embraced, and as a business leader, you have the opportunity to shape this talent for the future. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this topic.