How to Better Engage Millennials and the Rest of Us

by Nov 11, 2017Employee Engagement Training

How to Better Engage Millennials and the Rest of Us
Wouldn’t you love to have just asked this group of people the following question: “Who loves to work here and feels that we are accomplishing something that matters?”

Can you as a company executive imagine a more rewarding response? The reaction shows enthusiasm not only in terms of employee satisfaction with the work environment but also in terms of their engagement in the organization’s mission…and it’s shared by an apparently diverse population.

Is This Simply a Photo Set-up or Can You Actually Better Engage Millennials?
We have worked in the field of employee engagement for twenty-plus years and, while we can’t guarantee that 100% of your employees will respond this way, we can certainly guarantee measurable improvement. One tip on how to support and foster higher levels of employee engagement is to reach out to each and every employee…this means actively including those of:

  • Different backgrounds
  • Different life experiences
  • Different generations

It means sincerely believing that diversity promotes innovation, a critical advantage in today’s competitive marketplace.

Diversity Makes Us Smarter
An article by Katherine W. Phillips in the October 2014 Scientific American asserts that “diversity makes us smarter.”  Research shows that just being around people who are different pushes us to be more creative and harder working. Here is how she describes the phenomenon.

  • Diversity “encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving. Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations.”
  • This is her conclusion after analyzing years of research by organizational experts.

Google’s Take on How to Better Engage Millennials
Google has embraced this belief in their Diversity Core program which celebrates inclusion and diversity. They have a community of “Greyglers,” for example, for Google employees “of a certain age.” This dovetails well with our current interest at LSA in age diversity in particular.

How To Engage Different Generations
Much has been written about millennials who now at age 20 to 36 are well represented in the working population. But they join an older, more experienced population whose life experience and upbringing were far different. To engage different generations at both ends of the age spectrum at the same time, you need to:

  • Consciously Build Trust
    With trust as the foundation for the constructive debate and accountability required for high performing teams, you need to build a platform that encourages open sharing and mutual respect. Encourage opportunities for team members to learn about their coworkers and what they care about both personally and professionally.
  • Get Everyone Involved
    Explore together the strengths of individual team members and talk about how they can best be leveraged for the good of the team. Play to people’s strengths and be clear about goals, roles and success metrics.
  • Show Your Appreciation
    Make sure contributions from individual team members from all generations are recognized and valued. You know you are on the right path when people believe that the organization makes investments to make them more successful, they are valued as the company’s most important resource, and they are paid fairly.
  • Ask for Suggestions on How to Improve
    Your millennials may well have ideas on how technology can enhance productivity while older workers can offer advice on how and where to get the resources needed for a project. Together they should share ideas and expertise. You will know you are on the right path when diverse groups work together to solve problems and cooperate across departments.

The Bottom Line
People are people.  To better engage millennials take the same steps to better engage all employees.  Companies that effectively engage employees across the board and leverage differences boost overall team performance.

To learn more, download The Relationship between Employee Engagement and Manager Effectiveness

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