Though Generation Z is fast approaching the workforce, millennials are still a force to be reckoned with. Millennials, who just a few years ago were graduating from college and filling out corporate staffs, are now in the C-suite. There are already a plethora of millennial CEOs, and the question of how to engage Millennials (those of us who are not yet CEOs) is becoming more prudent and urgent than ever.
Though there are many micro tactics which can and should be employed to engage Millennials, there are three particularly large themes, all which relate to each other, and all of which seem to be crucial toward keeping a Millennial employee happy, motivated, and productive.
The primary, unavoidable element of a new generation is a thirst for new technology. This means, in essence, that ostensibly older employers need to keep up with the times. Mobile is everything nowadays. (Digital is too, by the way). To engage with Millennials requires one to keep up with the fast changing digital and mobile world.
This means a mobile friendly website (78% of job seekers actually use mobile devices to find their jobs), and perhaps utilizing other mobile apps in order to keep millennials’ attention. Millennials own on average about 4 mobile devices. Sure, they’re more likely to be distracted, but if a company doesn’t have a mobile presence, then they can forget about millennials and even Generation Z.
No, we don’t mean video games. Gamification, or corporate gamificaiton for that matter, is a necessary tool to keep any Millennial engaged and interested. Whether it’s an employee or even a prospective employee, gamificaiton will break down what might be otherwise dull subject matter, and turn it into an interesting and possibly competitive activity. Of course, Millennials were the first generation to grow up with video game consoles in their homes, so there is the aspect of a rather simple appreciation for video games as the core of this aspect.
It’s quite a new term (the term gamification was coined in 2002), but by 2020 the gamification market will surpass over $11 billion. Companies can use gamification to create a more engaging environment, which will likely keep employees motivated and interested.
Though this seems like a no-brainer, fairness is the most important and complicated theme to be used for engaging Millennials. Sure, everyone likes to be treated fairly. But Millennials in particular seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Perhaps it’s because they were raised by Baby Boomers who worked hard for their careers (and therefore don’t take anything for granted). Regardless, Millennials certainly need and crave both fairness and reassurance.
In a recent study, IBM pointed out the following: “When asked to describe their perfect boss, Millennials say they want a manager who’s ethical, fair and transparent more than one who recognizes their accomplishments.” This is a crucial notion toward understanding Millennials. They don’t desire credit or recognition. They just want a fair shake. By treating employees with respect, ethics, and transparency, Millennials are likely to respond with both an equal amount of respect, ethics, and transparency. This in turn will increase engagement and productivity.
Tactics VS Themes
Though there are many useful and effective tactics available to engage Millennials, I would argue that these tactics need to be instilled with themes. Understanding that we live in a mobile world, with a generation that has an appreciation for gaming, and craves respect, will go a long way in fortifying tactics used to engage Millennials.