Motivating A Younger Workforce: Meaningful Work And More
The age gap in the U.S. workforce is currently the widest it’s been in fifty years. Why? More employees are staying in their jobs longer and longer. There could be many good reasons for this: health care costs, financial issues, job satisfaction. Whatever the reason, it leaves the younger generation of workers with the impression that there is no good path forward for them.
Millennials currently make up more than 25 percent of the workforce in America. They are the youngest, most educated, most diverse generation yet. They have a lot to offer. Let’s create a path that benefits everyone.
Can They See The Future?
So, you’ve hired a Millennial, maybe Gen Z. In order to align these potentially valuable and productive new members of your team you need to make sure that they know where they’re going—where the company is going. Communicate your vision and direction early and often. When the path ahead is clear, they will take it.
Values Are Invaluable.
The job and its compensation can bring them in the door but that alone may not be enough to keep them. They are looking for a position that reflects their values. They want their job to be a good fit with who they are.
They want answers. What are your company’s core values? Who does your business serve? What problems do you solve for your customers?
In addition to long established and widespread values such as honesty, integrity, respect and teamwork, a majority of younger workers are concerned with sustainability and environmental stewardship.
To Get Respect, Give Respect.
Sure, you’re the boss, but micromanaging millennials does not work out well. They will not automatically respect you unless you give them autonomy—allow them to show you what they can do. Long term this fosters growth and builds more self-sufficient teams.
Employees with a true sense of ownership of their job will be more motivated, engaged and excited. Focus on the outcome, not the rules or how “you’ve always done it”.
Autonomy is not the norm for most businesses, but your company can benefit greatly from allowing employees to feel trusted. Wouldn’t you prefer to have your employees telling their friends what a great company they work for rather than the opposite?
A Generation Of Individuals.
We tend to think that all Millennials are basically the same—ambitious, confident, sheltered, pressured, and on and on, you know? And Gen Z too?
They are not.
Some are extroverts, some introverts. Some love being outdoors, some crave video gaming at home. They are diverse in so many ways and bring with them a wide range of talents and interests. Figure out what makes them tick and align their personal goals with your organization’s goals. Jon Hainstock, co-founder of Zoomshift, suggests checking in with them and asking questions such as: “What was the greatest lesson you learned from your parents?” or “Who was your childhood hero?” Spend time getting to see and appreciate their individuality.
They will feel valued and you will have gained a valuable insight into getting the best out of them.
Let’s Get Back On The Path Forward
Here’s a simple truth. The growth of your business depends on the growth of your people. Improving their skills improves your company’s ability to serve its customers and achieve its goals. So how can you unlock their potential? By recognizing their differences. And honoring them.
As digital natives they can find information quickly. So, they tend to focus on what they need to do more than what they need to know. They learn by doing. Give them meaningful tasks.
In keeping with this active approach, provide them an in-house coach or mentor. This hierarchical relationship structure provides a clear destination and a road map to get there. Interestingly, I found in my past leadership roles that the mentor-mentee partnership worked both ways as the more experienced coaches I assigned to work with the more entry-level team members learned from them as well.
Take advantage of their comfort level with technology. Platforms such as Slack are a great fit with their desire to connect and collaborate. Let them show you what they can do.
You provide the road, they know how to drive. And they’re ready to go.
Have questions about retaining younger workers? Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch for expert HR guidance today.
If you need advice on how this could benefit your company, we may be able to help. Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch today to partner with skilled HR experts that can help you benefit from a vibrant company culture.