Leadership & Management

11 minute read

Effective Engagement Techniques for Millennial Employees

Erika Rykun

Erika Rykun

The time has come for a new generation to assume leadership in the workforce. And this workforce is currently changing the world around us. Many managers are now millennials – adults born between 1981-1996 – and workplaces will have to learn how to accommodate and stimulate millennial engagement, which can be quite a challenging experience. 

To make things easier, we did a bit of research and found several effective strategies that can be used to raise millennial employee engagement. But first, let’s see why they seem so different from the rest of the workforce.

What makes millennials special?

The current workforce is a mixture of four generations: Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials (also known as Gen-Y), and Gen-Z.

Millennials are unique because they’re the first generation that grew up with a full-blown technical revolution and this changed the way they see the world.

They are more adaptable to change, have amazing technical skills, and understand the power of social media for communication. Furthermore, these are the people who need to tear down outdated social constructs and create new, more effective paths.

And, while “millennials in the workplace” statistics don’t look that good, other generations need to appreciate their difficulties. Not only do they face a world that’s completely different from what we know, but they also come with cultural views from past generations weighing heavily on them, like the expectations of owning a home and steady, lifelong employment.

As such, it may be challenging to work with them, but this generation is the one to re-shape the future and we need to give them the proper tools to do so. This means that in terms of training and management they require a new approach in order to integrate well with the corporate world.

Learn the best tips for training millennials and  retaining your millennial employees


6 Tips to Manage Millennials

If you’re ready to start the revolution of change, then check out the following tips to help you create a work environment based on harmony and understanding.

1. Embrace and promote diversity

The times when people would stay in one job or with one company their entire lives are long gone. In today’s ever-changing world, young adults get bored fast and look for diversity. Furthermore, many millennials don’t identify with traditional values such as buying a home and starting a family, so they are not pinned down by these responsibilities.

How to react as a manager?

To get an uplift in the millennial employee engagement, make room for diversity in your team. Start with hiring people from all walks of life, with diverse backgrounds and work experience. Also, it helps to have a diverse portfolio of customers, so the projects won’t be repetitive and boring.

A good example is provided by Chron - the creation of diversity-friendly policies such as on-site childcare or flexible hours. These two options already make your business more attractive to young mothers who still want to build their career.

2. Talk money

There is a trend amongst young adults to stay in their parents’ home a lot later than earlier generations. While many mature adults seem to think that this has something to do with a love for comfort and a lack of assuming responsibilities, there are more factors to be considered.

First, the housing market is not the best for young adults, and second, if millennials do move, they’d rather rent. They came out of college with huge student loans and the cost of living that put extra pressure on the new generation.

As a result, they are looking for the best-paying positions and they are not ashamed to show it. Furthermore, young professionals come with impressive skills, especially in the tech-related industry, so they are within their right to ask for a decent compensation.

Wrike's latest Employee Engagement Survey polled employees of all generations for reasons why they felt disengaged at work. All generations polled ranked feeling like their "work is undervalued or unrecognized" as their top reason. However, for 40% of millennials, that top spot tied with “I’m not making enough money.” In fact, Millenials were 48% more likely to rank pay as a top reason for disengagement than other generations.

How to react as a manager?

To get a millennial’s attention, talk money early in the hiring process. Make them an offer they can’t refuse, and you’ll definitely see a change of pace! As Foundr puts it:  "people crave motivation". You just need to know when to use money as a motivating factor, and how to use it right.


3. Offer flexibility and focus on results

How do you feel about people who work using a remote connection?

Due to developments in communication technologies, managing millennials in the workplace is not just about the office anymore. In fact, many young adults would rather have a 4-day work week or working from home because it gives them more freedom and comfort.

Millennials feel that working from home allows them to make full use of their time and focus on results rather than on etiquette. You don’t waste time with the commute, there’s no office attire, and you can alternate between personal and work tasks. The focus is entirely on results and not how they are obtained.

However, older generations, who value dress codes and fixed work schedules, don’t understand this way of life and tend to label it as lazy. This leads to a disconnect between generations which does not create a harmonious work environment.

How to react as a manager?

The obvious solution here is to relax the rules and focus more on results. Create an environment where everyone can find comfort in the way they do their job and don’t dismiss the idea of working remotely (where possible).

However, that was the easy part. Allowing people to work remotely is one thing. Keeping them productive - that’s something you should think about. Don’t underestimate the importance of discipline and time management in remote teams. And for more information on that - check out this article.

4. Work-life balance is important

We mentioned that young adults are motivated by higher-paying jobs, however, according to a white paper by HRPA, only 20% of millennials could be persuaded to give up their personal life with more money. According to The Telegraph, the majority of millennials are not ready to risk their work-life balance over job security either.

Young adults like to travel, enjoy spending time with friends and family, and put more focus on their overall happiness. They understand that life is not just about work and don’t want to sacrifice the best years of their life in an office.

How to react as a manager?

Make sure you have flexible policies for getting a vacation or a day off. Let “employees being afraid to ask for vacay” comics bite the dust. Again, it’s easier said than done, if your employee just went on vacation and you realized you didn’t have anyone else to answer business questions. That’s your task now - to ensure that the people going on vacation are really getting their vacation, and are not bothered by urgent business calls.


5. Promote startup culture

The new generation of employees comes with big dreams and lots of demands, but they are also the ones who will change the game. For instance, one of the reasons they don’t strive in large corporations that are based on a tall hierarchical structure is the lack of meaning in that company.

Young adults don’t want to be just another cog in the corporate machine. They want to feel their effort matters beyond the daily tasks.

This is one of the reasons they would rather get involved with a startup than join a multinational. In a startup, the ladder is shorter, and they get to experience all the sides of the business. Furthermore, they enjoy watching the business grow as they grow.

So, it’s not just about the money or the perks. Millennials want to make an impact in the world and a company with a rigid structure can’t always fulfill this need.

How to react as a manager?

While there are clear differences between a startup and a multinational company, you could try to create an environment where everyone is empowered. Millennials may not enjoy being the little guy, but if you give them a project they can run or have some power of decision in, they will be happier. In other words, make employee recognition programs your next goal and you won’t regret it.

6. Provide opportunities for growth

The millennial workforce is used to the idea of constant learning and development. Young professionals are aware of the fact that you can’t stay at the top of your game forever, so they are always looking to improve their skills and gain new ones.

This can be seen in the recent popularity of online e-learning platforms that offer courses specialized in certain types of skills. So, a company should create an environment where anyone interested to learn and grow in their current position can do so without too much of a hassle.

How to react as a manager?

According to a Deloitte survey, young adults value companies that offer diversity at all levels of hierarchy, but it’s crucial that it starts with the management.

Furthermore, as the manager of a team that includes millennials, you should be able to provide guidance for growth. This means guiding team members towards specific courses and activities that could be beneficial for their career or personal development.

It also helps to invest in a learning management system, such as GoSkills, that will allow access to bite-sized online courses regardless of location or time. This makes learning more manageable and fun, increasing motivation and productivity.

Wrap up

Like it or not, millennials make up the majority of the current workforce and if you give them a chance and adapt to their needs, you’ll have access to a massive talent market. As a result, your company will gain a competitive advantage and a new approach to the problems of today’s world.

Do you want to offer your millennial employees the opportunity for professional development? The GoSkills LMS makes it easy for both managers and employees to develop their abilities and learn new skills. Customize learning for every employee with just a few clicks, quickly create groups and assign specific courses to them, and monitor their progress at a glance with easy to understand reporting and analytics

Try the GoSkills LMS for free today and help your team stay motivated and engaged.

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Erika Rykun

Erika Rykun

Erika is an independent copywriter and content creator with a passion for running and reading.