(BPT) - The Millennial generation encompasses the employees who will be tomorrow's leaders in America's companies. In just 10 years, they'll make up 75 percent of the workforce.
This generation of college graduates - buried under student-loan debt and entry-level income - is looking for ways to engage in the workplace and climb out of the recession that has plagued its members in recent years.
"Millennials are the future of our companies, and are not entering a company like their parents did or anticipating they'll stay at that company for their entire working career," says Jean-Louis Van Doorne, senior vice president at Dale Carnegie Training. "They are hard workers who've been hit with many economic roadblocks, and they want to become engaged in their careers. Companies may need to adjust some practices to help encourage this engagement."
The research found Millennials find functional and emotional attributes in the office workplace big drivers of engagement, but many companies aren't delivering. Here's what small business owners and human resources departments can do to create a change in the workplace for better Millennial engagement:
* Improve communication - The gossip mill is not necessarily a good thing to encourage, and it will run rampant in your company if you don't have good communication about what's happening from the top down. In smaller companies, you can create quarterly meetings to share information, and at larger companies, newsletters and departmental meetings will help. Encourage your employees to ask questions. Promote an open-door policy with all management. And above all, only provide information that is accurate and true. If a question is asked and the answer isn't known, say so.
* Encourage growth opportunities - Millennials are interested in making their way up the career ladder quickly, and many will jump companies if they find it in their best interest. Since you've put a lot of effort into training them to perform perfectly for your company, it might be in your best interest to encourage them to stay around. Encourage your management team to discuss with Millennials on your staff their career goals, and identify direct paths they can take to grow in the company.
* Get to know your workers - For many generations, the attitude has been to not ask personal questions of employees, but instead to let employees tell their stories if they wish. Millennials would like their managers and coworkers to be interested in them, not just as an employee, but as a complete person. These employees want to know that their supervisor cares about their personal life and understands how it affects the work they do for the company. Your company might want to look into ways of getting to know each other, especially outside of the job. Consider hosting an annual family event like a picnic so coworkers can meet spouses and children. Create a monthly newsletter that features some stories about big life changes, like workers buying houses or starting families.
When employees are more engaged in their work and company, they are more productive and satisfied with what they're doing every day. This leads to better employee retention and trains workers to lead your company into the future. To learn more about the Dale Carnegie research, visit www.dalecarnegie.com/employee-engagement and download the free whitepaper.