How do you engage Gen Y workers?
Generation Y or ‘millennial’s’ is a term you see more and more in recruitment. Reason being is that they are now the generation entering and or rising up in the world of work. An excellent candidate is an excellent candidate, the same way a great song is a great song, but rather than being a 12 inch record a great song is now stored with 1000s of others in a 5 inch device. Businesses need to embrace these subtle changes or risk being fossilised by their rivals.
In order to engage Generation Y we must first ask:
Who are Generation Y?
Some stereotypical media would paint a picture of them as being humans born with a smart-phone attached to their palms and the attention span that lasts no longer than a ‘Vine’ (that’s a 7 second video if you’re not sure).
While there is no widely accepted definition of Generation Y, the term usually describes those born between the mid-80s to 2000. Members of Generation Y can also be referred to as millennial’s this usually means somebody who reached young adulthood in the years 2000-09.
There are many myths and rumours around, but one thing that is true is that; Generation Y are in the workplace and their numbers are only increasing. It is expected by 2025 that 75% of the workforce will be from Generation Y.
Therefore you will most likely be hiring, promoting and relying on milliennial’s to become your future business leaders, and they will play a key role in your company’s success as the rest of the 21st century unfolds. With that in mind here are some tips about engaging and getting the best of the young bucks:
- Embrace technology: This does not have to mean you transform your workplace into what you’d imagine the inside of a spaceship to look like, however a love of technology is probably the trait most commonly associated with millennial’s. Make sure you view social media as a valuable asset to your business, as opposed to procrastination’s best weapon. Take suggestions on what technology they think would be beneficial to the business and look into them.
- Flexible working: When Generation Y have been profiled, flexible working hours are often highly sought after. While they won’t expect you open for them at 4am they may wish for some manoeuvrability around the usual Dolly Parton routine.
- Provide regular feedback: Forbes and PwC recently observed that Generation Y like to receive feedback on their projects and performance more frequently. So instead of rigid appraisals¬ conducted quarterly or less, meet with your employees regularly in a more informal way. Chat about their performance, what they’ve done well and where they can improve.
- Change their duties and roles: One stat about millennial’s that is particularly alarming is the amount of time they stay within a company. Sceptics of the generation attribute this to them being fickle, but when asked many say it is because they enjoy a variety of challenges and wish to progress quickly. If you value these employees make it clear to them how they can progress, and vary their roles and tasks so they avoid tedium and the dreaded “itchy feet”.
- Develop them: As we discussed in the previous point, career longevity is not something Generation Y are accustomed to. If you have a young employee who you see as having a bright future, take time to develop them, allow them to attend training courses to improve their skills. These employees will feel more positively about you and your business if they can see they are valued and may not have to leave to progress their career.
- Communicate the company’s ethics and values: When asked what is important when choosing where to apply, many graduates said the values of the company often rank alongside the role and the salary. Make sure you make clear what your business does and how it benefits the customer. When asked what they do, your employees should proudly say: “I work for ….” rather than “I’m an accountant” or “I work in Finance”
- Encourage social activity: Social belonging is another important factor to millennial’s. Make sure your workplace encourages socialising outside of work. You don’t have to become their best friend, but through weekly or even monthly events you can ensure their social life and work life are mutually exclusive, this can be invaluable in employee retention.
- Encourage Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is on the rise, US studies from 2014 detailed that over half of millennial’s asked, identified themselves as having an entrepreneurial mind set. This does not mean your employees are all going to leave to start their own businesses. However, it does mean you have to allow more scope for creativity and autonomy on the projects they are managing.