employee engagement; millennials; changing workforce; internal communication; employee satisfaction

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Millennials want Balance and Belonging not Dad Dancing.

I had a really interesting conversation with a new client last week. She was bemoaning the fact that the most likely time for her millennials to leave the business was after 9 months, ‘If they could just give us another 6 months it would transform our business entirely’. Interesting stuff.

I’m not going to get into any deep and meaningful psychology mumbo jumbo but there are a few simple rules to follow that will help you and is going to help her.

BMW in Germany have a 5 generational workspace, and just as they have additional seating at the workplace and quiet areas for their older employees for a bit of downtime – plus leeway for extra medical appointments – so we need to think more about the needs of all employees. One size doesn’t fit all and if you thought about them as customers then you’d segment your approach accordingly.

So, a few simple things can you can apply in your business tomorrow that could make a material difference.

1. Onboarding and induction are crucial. Those first impressions can make or break you with any employee but with the connected generation of millennials, expectations are high and there is a firm knowledge that other options always exist. But more than that, given the sense of expectation, entitlement even in some cases, you have to have the mindset that you need to be ‘rehiring’ your staff every month, week, day even – show them that they’re in the right place, with the right people at the right time so that the ‘What’s in it for me’ is satisfied in their head.

2. Remember, people seek meaning in their work. What is it you want them to do and, crucially, why is that important to the overall good you do as a Company. Staff crave that meaning but the Sage survey last year reckoned that only 50% of people were in receipt of it. Which is probably a generous figure in my honest opinion.

3. If you’re ‘rehiring’ then you’re always re - inducting. With one client we transformed their 90 day retention just by having HR check in each fortnight in the first 3 months rather than just rush through the first week induction and leave them to the mercy of an already overstretched line manager (who’d already proved he/she could lose staff too easily). And in the spirit of re - inducting, keep that new paint smell freshness about the work, new projects, new focusses or even new ways to focus on the same thing.

What that new client needed to be aware of, and so do us all, is that a mere 12% of millennials envisage themselves as retiring. It is about work life balance now and engagement throughout the employment cycle not a journey towards an end goal. It doesn’t mean you won’t get talented, hard workers. Far from it. But you can’t take their loyalty and presence for granted as you may have done with previous, maybe mortgage ridden ‘lifers’

Remember in this connected generation. If you get the employment experience right then they’ll tell their network and put it on Glass Door. And if you get it wrong they’ll tell their network and put it on Glass Door. It’s a win:lose but with exponential potential.

Have you ever been in those offices where they have a funky kitchen no-one goes in, or a pool table no-one plays on ? The same Sage survey said that only 5% of employees felt that having a ping pong table in the office added to their workforce experience. More than half thought games in the office were distracting and adversely affected their productivity suggesting a gap between what employers offer and employees value.

So, since perks and ping-pong aren’t going retain your Millennial staff, you need to focus instead on ensuring that you map every touch point across the employee lifecycle. And obsess about the engagement opportunity each one offers.

If you would like help to audit your employment experience, and where you could make a material difference, or even just pick our brains on some of our best practice examples of how we have helped companies with changing work-forces then I would love to hear from you. Call us on 0117 300 3000 or email john@wearedna.co.uk

Author: John Tarrant
Date published: 08.02.2019

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