The youngest generation in the modern workforce – Generation Y, Gen Next, The Millennials – have a tough reputation to live down before they’ve even started. People think of them as slackers, lazy, entitled kids who know nothing about job loyalty, commitment, hard work or respect. Wrong.
Change that perception in your organization and earn the loyalty of your younger workforce by changing your attitude and thinking about who these Millennials are. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of high turnover rates and a loss of the newest generation of creativity and brainpower in your organization.
If you are not a member of Generation Y, then understand that they are unlike you. They operate in the professional world with a completely different perspective. The key to your organization’s future success is understanding that perspective and using that knowledge to motivate them.
- Ask for their opinions. Research has shown that one way to reduce turnover in younger employees is to convince them that you value their opinions. When surveyed, younger employees always indicate that the top quality they look for in a boss is “someone who listens.”
- Give them some space. Younger employees don’t work well with bosses who hover over them and micromanage. They like to work at their own pace, in their own style. Help them set their goals, and then give them the freedom to reach those goals.
- Give them face time. While most young employees are comfortable with technology, they also place importance on face-to-face performance feedback. The more face time you give them, the happier they’ll be.
- Focus on short-term incentives. Younger employees want incentives such as flexible hours, performance-based monetary incentives, and other programs where they can reap the benefits immediately. Long-term, big picture incentives, such as a 401K plan, aren’t as meaningful to younger employees.
- Understand their work ethic. Gen Nexters have a self-centered work ethic, which is not entirely negative. They are dedicated to completing their task well but have not been raised to look around and see what should be done next. They go about figuring the best, fastest way to complete their task, then consider themselves done.
- Give them concrete incentives. For most younger employees, early employment is not about a career path. It’s a way to earn money to have fun in their free time. If you understand this, you can help motivate them by telling them clearly what they must do to earn that weekly paycheck. Don’t try to motivate by promising promotions and titles down the road.
- Keep their goals short-term. Generation Y was born into a world where nothing is guaranteed. Considering the nationwide layoffs, war and soaring divorce rates they’ve seen, their attitude is that there’s not a lot you can count on. As a result they are not interested in promotion plans for five years from now. Reward small successes along the way, string these milestones together and you will soon realize longer tenures among your staff.
Loyalty from younger employees, once earned, is long-lasting. The adjustments you make to accommodate them will reward you with decreased turnover, improved morale, and measurable business results.