Millennials crave a clear career path, mentoring, training and other learning opportunities. Millennials, defined as those aged in their 30s and below, now make up an increasing percentage of the workforce. However, research suggests that businesses are struggling to find ways to engage their employees, with 59% actively looking for their next employment opportunity. (1) To attract and retain millennials, business leaders must understand and invest in building engagement with employees.
In the fifth annual global millennials survey by Deloitte, respondents stated a shortage in opportunities to grow their leadership ability is the primary reason they move to a new job. (2) Another recent global survey conducted by Qualtrics found that employees are seeking tailored training experiences and not a classic, fixed, broad-spectrum approach.
Providing strong leadership, including coaching and training to help millennials develop skills that are meaningful to them and valuable to the organisation can help improve engagement. Business leaders should also personalise training experiences to each employee, not their role within the organisation. This may include creating modulated training sessions delivered using micro-learning and mobile learning tools for short, sharp learnings.
Business leaders cannot act to improve levels of engagement if they don’t recognise current levels within their organisation. While annual employee surveys are uniquely valuable, used to identify drivers of engagement and recognise areas of low engagement, pulse surveys are ideal to determine levels of engagement and sentiment across the organisation on a more regular basis. Conducted on a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis, pulse surveys are short and timely, and the results are easy to analyse. Business leaders can gain immediate feedback, consistently track levels of employee engagement, and identify trends and at-risk employee populations with low engagement and attribution.
There are four key pieces of advice businesses can follow to measure and act on levels of engagement in millennial employees:
1. Make it easy
Open-ended questions and frictionless processes are crucial for companies to get the rich, detailed feedback they need. Companies should simplify the survey process and consider whether they’re using the most appropriate channel when asking for employee feedback. Employees may prefer to complete the survey via SMS or using pop-up boxes via the company’s intranet, for example.
2. Lifecycle feedback
Lifecycle feedback lets businesses measure and connect insights across their employee’s entire lifecycle, from recruitment to exit. By collecting ongoing feedback, organisations are able to recognise employee engagement trends across every lifecycle touchpoint.
3. Share and act
Companies must let decision-makers access feedback in a timely fashion. By implementing feedback channels, business leaders can learn what employees like and dislike, leveraging this information to design and deliver experiences that their employees value which encourages loyalty. Employees are more likely to feel valued, heard, and understood when feedback is not only sought but, importantly, acted on.
4. Show the value of loyalty and hard work
With career advancement a main motivation for many employees, including millennials, businesses looking for ways to attract and retain workers can do so by addressing these concerns. Whether it is the importance of loyalty, hard work, or other factors specific to the organisation, identifying and communicating the best ways to achieve their desired career path can be a strong way to cement the loyalties of millennials in the workforce.
Soon to be the highest proportion of the workforce, millennials are key to helping businesses achieve their objectives and targets. Millennials provide a unique perspective and fresh ideas, so organisations must invest in keeping them engaged, challenged and interested, while presenting opportunities to learn and grow where possible. Businesses that frequently and regularly measure the experience of their employees can obtain a clearer picture of how to best work and retain with not only millennials but all employees.
About the Author
Bill McMurray is the Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics. The company builds solutions to help its customers gather, analyse and taking meaningful actions with data that’s relevant to their employees, customers and markets.