Millennials now occupy a significant proportion of the workforce and are predicted to make up 75% of the US workforce by 2030. In the UK, they already represent 21% of the population. Globally, they are exerting increasing influence over corporate strategy through leading organizations valued at billions and making socially-conscious investment choices.
It has been highly publicised that this group has high expectations for their careers and their workplace environment. Although recent global political turmoil has led to Millennials reconsidering their low levels of employer loyalty, a still high proportion of 45% are looking to leave their current jobs within the next 2 years.
Although start-ups and the Venture Capital community still have lots of room for improvement on people issues (in particular around diversity and inclusion), they also tend to have more engaged employees than non-tech companies and an employee population that is overwhelmingly Millennial.
So what lessons can larger companies learn about how to keep their Millennials happy and engaged at work?
Lesson 1: Communicate your organization’s positive impact
Millennials care deeply about social issues and many hope to make a positive impact to society through their workplace. This means that more than ever, it is important to provide support, through funding and flexibility, to employees to contribute to causes they believe in. This also means that employees should be continuously informed about how your organization is benefitting the wider society.
Lesson 2: Have your organization’s leader communicate openly and frequently
Millennials expect authentic and honest communication from their leaders. For many larger organizations, this expectation will be a deviation from the status quo of how senior management communicates with the rest of the organization. Senior management may need to be trained and coached to understand how to communicate candidly with their teams, including telling powerful stories of failure.
Lesson 3: Re-design your Learning & Development programme with Millennials in mind
Millennials, more than other generations, consider their job to a be a learning opportunity. How do we best design an Learning & Development format that works well with Millennials? For this, we can take inspiration from the design of a Millennial-friendly media platform.
At our workshops, we provide Millennials with a broad overview of topics that will help them in their career. Understanding their short attention span, we design our modules to be short, snappy and super interactive. They can then deep-dive in areas that are of more interest to them through 1-on-1 conversations with our Facilitators, thus customising their learning.
Millennials have also become accustomed to breaking news and instant communication so we supplement our face to face workshops with short and frequent e-mails where we share short tips and inspirational stories.
In summary, Millennials are asking for their workplace to be an open, collaborative and learning environment. Getting your organization there may be a journey, but will result in a better organization for all your employees.