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4 Employee Engagement Secrets From Millennials

The fastest-growing demographic in the workforce knows a few things about motivating and leading others.

[Image: Shutterstock]

With their widespread entrance into the workplace, millennials are bringing new requirements of employee engagement that include creativity, entrepreneurialism, and accelerated career growth. Research by Deloitte is projecting that millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. They are supportive of—and engaged with—companies that care about more than a high-profit margin.

Leaders are noticing the change. According to Deloitte, 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement as urgent or important.

What secrets of employee engagement can you pick up from millennials? It’s not about pay or work-life balance. Here are some ways to increase engagement in your organization:

1. Instill Genuine Confidence in the Company’s Leaders

According to a study by Australian startup Culture Amp, 74% of those surveyed said confidence in their leadership was a key driver of engagement.

After economic uncertainty and layoffs, employees need to feel they can trust the people leading their company. They need to have leaders they can look up to, and aspire to emulate. Creating a culture of transparency and requiring an ongoing dialogue between management and staff costs nothing, but it can increase employee engagement and happiness exponentially.

2. Contribute to the Industry

According to the Culture Amp study, 72% of those surveyed said the company should be a great place to contribute to their field. Employees ultimately want to feel they are doing tasks to help move entire industries forward.

To do this, it is imperative to offer employees the appropriate motivation, time, and tools to understand how their work and your organization are both contributing to the big picture. You can try implementing an 80-20 rule like Google, offering employees time away from the office to be inspired, or sponsoring a hackathon to get new teams collaborating. In the end, it will not only benefit the entire industry, but also your company’s image and brand as innovative and visionary.

3. Introduce Impact Jobs

Going beyond the company’s profit margin is key to engaging and motivating employees. According to a survey by nonprofit Net Impact, employees of all generations who felt they had impact jobs were two times more satisfied at work.

You need to instill giving back to the community as part of the company’s DNA. Give employees the option of what cause they would like to take part in, as well as offer them extra time for to volunteer, or run their own donation campaigns. For example, Aveda’s crowdsourced local water project engaged employees through a cause that was relevant to their company’s mission.

4. Crowdsource Innovation from Within

Everyone knows innovation is key to a successful company, but creating a culture that values and fosters innovative thought can be a challenge. What about crowdsourcing innovation within your own organization? Enabling a culture that promotes suggestions from employees can give employers insights they would not get elsewhere. I’m frequently amazed at how employees from different departments are able to problem-solve together. Our open office space leads to casual conversations about everyday challenges, and often the solution comes from a team member who is not directly involved.

The bottom line is that an open door policy just won’t cut it anymore—you need to find a way to leverage your most prized assets. Your organization might survey customers to gauge their satisfaction. Think about implementing those surveys with the talent you screened, hired, and continue to trust with moving the company forward.

As Josh Bersin wrote: "[Millennials] don't want a career; they want an experience." This new culture of engagement, largely driven by New Tech companies, has set a new standard for workplace environments.

It’s time to take some secrets from the new millennial workforce and implement them into your culture.

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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