As a millennial in the workforce who has read many different strategies for companies to attract us and keep us engaged lately, I’m here to say: we’re not that complicated!
We’re just a subset of people pushing our leaders to meet our needs. This is what humans do, not just millennials. Just think back to the Industrial Revolution, while it increased our resiliency as a society, it came with grim living and working conditions. Workers banded together and pushed for change. I don’t feel that millennials pushing for change is a differentiator for our group. What is, is the digital age we live in and the buffet of social media platforms we have at our fingertips with which to speak our mind. Now we don’t just leave employers when we feel wronged, we take to our networks and tell our 1400 Facebook friends, 400 Twitter followers, 267 Instagram followers and with the promise of it disappearing in 24 hours, we save the juicy details for Snapchat. Disclaimer: I haven’t done this, but I’ve seen it done plenty.
Then there’s review sites. I’m the first to admit that review sites aren’t very collaborative, they’re pretty one-sided, the unhappy employees take to them mostly and air their dirty laundry, the happy ones are too busy being happy to bother. As both a reviewer and a reader, whether it be on Yelp, Google Reviews or Glassdoor I take it upon myself to review the places I have positive experiences at, in addition to the not-so-great and outright bad. But alas, that’s not the case for all. Regardless of my review style or the style of the masses, review sites are effective in getting a point across – AND in the case of people pushing their employers to meet their needs, it’s working! For that I say, “great work team!” and extend a high-five to my employer Ceridian for creating an environment that earned us a spot on Glassdoor’s Best Places To Work list.
What Millennials Really Need
When I first started writing this blog, I wrote out a list of what millennials don’t appreciate at work. But, after giving it some thought, I realized the items I listed are things no one would like – not just millennials.
So, instead, here are a couple ways to keep millennial workers engaged, productive and grateful to go to work each day.
1. Be transparent
Everything the news anchors mention when I sit alongside my mother in her 6 o’clock news-watching routine, is old news to me. I grew up on a 24hr news cycle and now I receive the news in my inbox or on my social feeds. If there’s anything else I want to know, I google it and the answer is there immediately. So waiting for answers is difficult for me, to say the least, and I’d argue that this is true for most millennials. Sure, when workplace changes are on the horizon and you’re not sure of the details yet and how to communicate them best, you have to hold off telling folks – and we get that. But there has to be a compromise between being completely transparent and lying. If you can lean as much toward the transparent side wherever possible, it will certainly be well received by my people (millennials, just to be clear). The information that is thrown at me, daily, by the minute – is vast and plentiful. I’ve become somewhat of an information junkie and I’m not alone. Millennials, like me, are information junkies and we appreciate when our companies are constantly sharing. Use social media, use internal emails, posters and even desk drops. Keep it coming!
2. Show us love
Thank you notes, cute desk drops, email GIFs and surprise celebratory visits go a long way in making us feel appreciated. All of these go a lot further than an actual pay raise, in fact. A PwC study found that, to millennials, more important than good pay is having a sense of belonging in the company they work for. So keep that in mind if raises are not currently in the cards for your company. Where I work, Kristina Cleary has done an amazing job creating a team that takes time out of their day to celebrate successes. It really is meaningful to see our leader celebrate each one of us that way.
We want to be heard. My manager books a weekly check-in with me, giving me a half hour or more each week that I can look forward to and go over anything I like. Sure, sometimes we are out or it just doesn’t pan out for whatever reasons on certain weeks. But having it on the calendar, scheduled by her (a millennial too, I might add) gives me confidence knowing she’s there if I need her – and even if I don’t.
4. Push us
Deloitte just released an incredible study on millennials, revealing that 63 percent feel their leaderships skills are not developed. With this in mind, I’d like to add that it’s not enough to delegate work to us and it won’t keep us at your organization. Instead, push us to create work that inspires us. Some of us need a little nudge, but once we have the green light to create and think outside the box, we’ll not only be extremely productive and efficient, we’ll be excited to come to work each morning. Personally, that means I’m not looking elsewhere for my next gig.
These 4 items really matter to me, but don’t take my word for it! In part 2 I’ll share what my millennial co-workers at Ceridian look for in an employer. Stay tuned!