Today, there are more millennials entering the workforce than any other age group. And most companies are looking for insight on how to better attract them, engage with them, and educate them on the job.
So who are millennials? The millennial generation was born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, according to Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. Millennials have grown up in a society that is very different than any group before them. They have different characteristics than any generation before them. For example, they are the most scheduled generation ever, are true multi-taskers, expect to have six to eight careers in their lifetime, and are attracted to diverse environments
The millennial generation is different from previous generations in several ways — most notably, they are the first generation born into the Internet age. As a result, they know their way around electronic gadgets, like smart phones, tablets, and computers better than other generation.
Here are a few more general insights about the millennial generation:
• They are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of new technology than previous generations
• They have the most educated mothers of any generation before them
• They don’t believe in being shackled to tradition
• They are interested in designing their lives, not pursuing work-life balance
• They believe in learning something of substance, not just receiving diplomas
• They believe in learning from others’ experience
As they grew up, millennials impacted the educational world in a big way, from primary school through college. Schools had to change the way they do business to better serve them. And now millennials are impacting the workplace. As a result, companies are changing the way they hire, support, and train this generation.
How would you retain employees in the millennial generation?
1. Give Them Consistent Feedback
Thanks to social media, millennials are constantly exposed to other people’s thoughts, ideas, and comments. As a result, they expect feedback — including in the workplace. Feedback could include constructive criticism about both their weaknesses and their strengths.
2. Give Them Bite-Sized Lessons
Thanks to computers, millennials don’t usually have long attention spans. As a result, to sit around in long meetings can be counterproductive. This problem is easily solved by creating shorter work modules/assignments, even if you create more of them. Think minutes versus hours. Shorter assignments also help millennials execute information better, because it prevents cognitive overload. As a result, they get to their workstation and ready to take action on the job.
3. Give Them a Reason to Learn
Millennials learn better when they are given a reason to learn. If they have a valid motive and know that it ties into a real-world purpose or goal, they will become more willing learners. This primarily comes from the fact that they are pragmatic — they want to apply all of the information they have learned and put every skill to use. While theories and ideas have their place, to be truly inspired millennials need to see how every piece of information translates into practical experience.
5. Give Them Real Challenges
Millennials seek out adventure. They want to solve problems. They want to be challenged. They don’t respond well to mundane experiences. As a result, if you offer them real-world challenges on-the-job, such as obstacles they must overcome, they’ll engage more powerfully.
6. Give Them Team based projects
Millennials are classified as highly collaborative and ambitious individuals who thrive in online social environments. As a result, they perform well in social environments — including interacting with their peers and working together to solve a common problem. This makes sense since a large part of their lives are spent online — chatting with friends, communicating with co-workers, and even conducting business via social networking. This makes them ideal candidates for team based projects.
The vast majority of today’s workplaces will be impacted by the influx of millennials. Taking steps now to adapt to this large workforce demographic will help your company better achieve its goals. After all, making your resource structure better designed to match their skill set and attitudes will help your company achieve better results and gain bigger rewards.
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