Loyalty and engagement aren’t necessarily easy to foster in millennial employees. But with the right approach, any manager can make the workplace a better environment for their staff.
Many things affect how successful your business is and how quickly it grows.
There are your marketing and sales strategies, the clientele you target, your choice of products or services, the level of customer service you provide, and even the economy.
Yet, one of the biggest factors that not enough people pay attention to is the productivity, loyalty, and engagement of their employees.
The team you have working in your organisation will have a huge impact on whether clients spend money with your business or not, return to buy again, and speak positively about the venture to their contacts.
As the leader, then, it’s your job to do what you can to ensure your workers are as happy and motivated as possible.
For many entrepreneurs, though, this task seems particularly daunting when it involves millennials and other young generations of employees.
If you’re a business owner who feels flummoxed about how to move ahead, here are some affordable (yet effective) steps to follow. They’re by no means particular to millennials, but they’re certainly tactics I’ve found particularly useful when interacting with them.
1. Have conversations with your team
First up, don’t feel like you have to guess what your staff members want. Instead, ask them!
Have regular conversations with your workers, including during annual reviews and when you hire new people, about what it is they value most.
For instance, many young employees are keen to enjoy more work-life balance or to have flexibility in how, when, and where they work.
Finding meaning in their job and knowing the company they work for has a purpose is also very important to many millennials.
There are numerous other considerations, too, so do yourself a favour and chat with your team to find out what they hold most dear.
2. Thank people
No matter their age, employees wish to feel valued on the job. Thanking people is a pivotal way to do this.
To keep millennials engaged, be the kind of boss who regularly thanks them not only for the results they achieve but also for their efforts.
For example, acknowledge when they “muck in” to help complete a major project on deadline or when they go the extra mile to fill in for sick or holidaying employees.
Take the time to speak with people face-to-face wherever possible, or send a heartfelt letter or email, pick up the phone, or arrange a video conference call to convey your gratitude.
You might also like to thank people in a group setting, such as a weekly team meeting, or in a more public way, like on social media, within a company newsletter, or at a conference.
3. Hand out awards
It’s also helpful to acknowledge hard workers and those who achieve great things by handing out awards.
Set up a structured system for this, such as an ‘Employee of the Month’ or other awards program, or give awards more informally, as you think it’s appropriate.
Young workers like receiving awards as this shows them you’ve noticed what they do, and value their contributions.
It’s something they can add to their resumes and post online, too, which helps them to boost their careers – an essential factor to millennials.
4. Give out rewards and perks
Of course, rewards and perks are a must, too.
While again, everyone enjoys receiving these kinds of extras, younger generations are especially partial to these boosts.
They’ve grown up being given rewards for everything from participating to levelling up on video games.
When it comes to handing out rewards, tailor what you give people to their individual personalities, interests, hobbies, and family situations wherever possible.
This makes people feel more valued and understood than generic gifts.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a big budget for these things, either. A well-thought-out, personal present can do wonders for millennial motivation.
Perks are valuable, too. Consider things like extra days off (such as on people’s birthdays), discounted or free meals at work, gym memberships, massages, mindfulness and yoga classes, and other health boosters.
Affordable childcare, the ability to bring pets to work, and free or better parking are appreciated perks, too.
5. Provide opportunities for learning and development
Remember that your younger team members are focused on moving ahead in their careers and enjoying their work.
As a result, look for ways to enable employees to learn, grow, and develop as workers and as people.
For instance, enable them to move around the business trying new positions, meeting new people, and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.
Arrange for inspirational speakers to come and give talks, and provide people with access to regular training sessions, whether on-site or off.
Also invite employees to attend conferences, trade shows, etc., and to represent the company at key industry events.
Plus, be open to employees spending some time each year giving back through volunteering roles or running events or other projects to help charitable organisations.
Show millennials you value and appreciate them, and you’re keen to help them get as much as possible out of their jobs. In turn, they’re much more likely to become committed, engaged, and loyal to you and your company.
This article has been adapted from MYOB, originally authored by Kellie Byrnes.