Understanding Millennials in the Workplace - Part 3

After putting the career landscape of millennials into context, whilst analysing the opportunities and challenges of a multi-generational workforce, it’s time to explore our top 3 tips to retain the millennial workforce whilst capitalising on their strengths and expertise!

1. Create opportunities for multi-generational collaboration

Millennials relish the opportunity to engage, interact and learn from senior management, but they equally need to feel as though their input and contributions are valid. Mentoring programmes can be particularly effective in helping to relieve tensions between generations.

In an effort to help managers relate to millennial employees, many organisations are pairing top management with younger employees in programmes known as ‘reverse mentoring’. Workplace mentors used to be higher up in the ranks (and older) than their mentees, but this is no longer the case as social media skills become increasingly valuable.

Companies say another benefit is reduced turnover among younger employees, who gain a valuable glimpse into the world of management via top level access. These programmes also help to transfer corporate knowledge to millennials, which will become increasingly important as baby boomers retire in greater numbers.

2. Wave 'goodbye' to the appraisal, and provide ongoing feedback

For millennials who expect access to real-time data with information on demand, conducting annual appraisals to review performance can be a highly demotivating experience. At this stage, it’s also too late to tackle any serious performance problems or issues causing the disengagement of the employee. For this reason, constant and regular feedback can help staff review their output throughout the year. It’s also easier for management to make the right changes, as staff will be more likely to speak up if they are struggling or request a change of direction.

So rather than adhere to the traditional annual appraisal style of offering and receiving performance feedback, individuals should have their managers continuously monitoring their performance and discussing areas for improvement. However, it’s important to appreciate the difference between continuous feedback and micromanagement.

3. Offer varied work projects and interactive training sessions

According to the study by PwC, millennials expect to keep learning as they enter the workplace and spend a high proportion of their time gaining new experiences and absorbing new information. For this reason, 35 percent of respondents were attracted to employers who offer excellent training and development programmes.

The question of how training and development should be structured for millennials is an important one. Millennials’ ease with technology means that they respond well to a range of digital learning styles and delivery methods, which might include online learning modules, webinars or interactive game-play. They are innately collaborative and accustomed to learning through practicing their knowledge within a team. For this reason, a one-sided lecture is less likely to hold their attention.

The best training programmes will combine classroom instruction and self-directed study with coaching and group learning. However, despite the preference for independence, millennials want structure and objectives that clearly define what must be achieved.

It’s also important to note that although millennials may be experts in technology and collaboration, they will require training in fundamental workplace behaviour and culture, particularly when employed within a multi-generational department or organisation.

What are you doing to retain your millennial workforce?

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