Building the strongest team possible requires finding ways to engage your employees. When employees are engaged, they’re passionate about their work. They want to contribute to the organization, and they are less likely to leave it early in pursuit of opportunities elsewhere. Engaging employees to this degree also guards against the cost of turnover.
However, it’s also important to understand that the methods which may have effectively yielded engagement in the past don’t always apply today. Attitudes toward work tend to change from generation to generation.
You need to remember this if you’re hiring younger people. Don’t assume engagement tactics that delivered results before will deliver the same results now. To engage Millennials and other young employees, keep the following essential tips in mind.
Provide Feedback Regularly
It’s important to provide regular, honest feedback to all team members. Employees who know where they stand typically feel more confident in their roles. If they’re living up to your expectations, they’ll work comfortably, knowing their place at the company is secure. If they’re not, they’ll want to make improvements. The only way they can do so is if they know what kind of improvements they need to make in the first place.
Consistent feedback is particularly important to younger employees, a trend that many experts credit to current parenting styles. Typically, today’s young workers were raised by parents who communicated with them in a similar manner, treating their children like team players whose strengths needed to be cultivated (and whose weaknesses needed to be addressed).
Don’t make the mistake of assuming this means young employees are “too sensitive.” On the contrary, they’re so accustomed to receiving regular feedback that they can handle critique without feeling threatened.
Develop Company Culture
Researchers who’ve studied Millennial work attitudes have found that many younger workers don’t necessarily pursue roles solely for job security. In many instances, they believe they can rely on their talents and networks to provide a degree of security and instead look for jobs that provide them with enjoyable experiences.
This makes sense in the social media age. Social networking platforms have given young people constant opportunities to share their experiences with people all over the world. This has motivated them to pursue positive and enjoyable experiences on a regular basis.
That means they want work to be an experience in and of itself. Of course, while you could satisfy this desire to some extent by hosting company events, on a day-to-day basis, it simply isn’t feasible.
Focus instead on developing a positive company culture. While this can take time, the value of a strong culture can’t be overstated. Your younger employees (and your workforce in general) will be far more engaged on the job if they have positive feelings about the environment in which they work.
Consider Offering Flexibility
You won’t always be able to apply this tip. There are still instances when you may need all team members to arrive for work at the same time and leave at the same time.
However, younger workers have grown up with the kind of technology that makes remote work more practical than it used to be. They’ve also grown up in an age where employees are typically expected to put in more hours than they may have in the past.
Because of this, young employees may wish to make a trade-off of sorts. They know they’re expected to work hard. In exchange, they would like the opportunity to do their work outside of the office from time to time. Additionally, they would like to know there are at least some instances when they can work according to their own schedule. This is key to striking a healthy work/life balance. Consider offering flexible work arrangements to help your employees achieve this goal.
Don’t worry if you think engaging younger employees will be a struggle. While you do have to adjust your tactics to match their attitudes toward work, you’ll also benefit from hiring engaged young workers.
This generation of employees tends to be fairly ambitious. They don’t want to deliver mediocre results. In fact, they want to continue developing their skills in an effort to grow.
Along with offering professional development opportunities, you can cultivate this strength by periodically setting goals with your younger team members. If they know they have consistent opportunities to improve and reach new professional heights, they’ll be far more likely to feel engaged with their work.
The main point to take away from all of this is simply that work attitudes change over the years. You need to keep pace with these changes in order to better understand how you can engage your workforce.