If there is a buzzword that we could eradicate from our HR lexicon, I would nominate “millennials.” Everyone (and we are guilty too) loves to talk about them, from their perceived workplace habits to employment motivations. However, there is one important aspect of millennials in the workplace that needs to be addressed: how bad most organizations are at actually engaging and retaining them.
A lot of this difficulty comes from misunderstanding millennials’ goals and motivations. There are a lot of myths out there; let’s try to break a few down:
MYTH: Millennials care most about deriving personal meaning from their work.
Millennials (and consumers in general) might care about authenticity and social responsibility from the brands that they consume, but it isn’t the biggest motivation for performance in their own workplace. Instead, younger workers are similar to older generations in that the most important aspect in the workplace is long-term learning and growth. Creating and offering opportunities for younger employees to take on leadership roles and learn new skills will make them more productive, help retain them for longer periods of time, and make that retention more valuable to the organization.
MYTH: Millennials don’t want to see their managers
Ugh, kids these days can’t take criticism, they don’t respect their elders, they play their music too loudly. Sound familiar? Every generation has said that of the youngsters following them, and things have always been exaggerated. The same holds true now; millennials want face time with their managers, and they want to hear about vision and direction. However, they really want to build an authentic relationship with management.
TRUTH: Millennials want feedback
This one is true: workers in this generation crave feedback – and lots of it. We love measuring our progress and getting our managers’ takes on the work we are doing. Make sure when managing millennials to set up both short term and long term goals to track them against, and to have regular check ins with them about their progress.
There’s a lot of rumors swirling around millennials in the workplace; if you’re looking to dispel a few more, read our report, “Young & Talented, but Lazy? Not So Fast, Millennials are the Real Deal!”