4 Ways to Connect to the Millennial Workforce

The millennial generation is about to become the majority of the workforce. How do you keep millennial employees happy, productive and engaged?

Daniel Newman

By 2020, millennials are going to overtake their elders as the largest portion of the workforce. With more than 76 million of them, this generation is made up of those born between 1980 and 2002.

And their impact on the workplace is about to be felt.

For many companies in the technology integration space, millennials are becoming more core to the business. As companies are growing or replacing their workforce, it’s becoming increasingly likely that the individuals they’ll hire will fall into this bucket.

As their representation in the workplace is growing, it has been challenging for business owners of different eras to acclimate with the “unique” working style they desire (and require to be happy and productive). What are company owners and managers supposed to do with this group?

As digital natives, they’re actually quite fitting for tech-focused businesses.

However they fit into our workplaces, millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers need to learn to work together. This is entirely possible. For the best chance of success, try these four tips for better connecting to millennials in the workplace.

Think Employability

More than 60% of millennials have already changed jobs at least one time; a staggering 91% don’t foresee themselves in the same position three years from now. Millennials tend to be more interested in building skill sets that drive employability rather than employment.

RELATED: Are Tech-Trained Millennials the Right Hire for AV Integrators?

In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to stay with one career and employer for as long as possible. But this generation is seeking to make regular changes that give them exposure to new opportunities. Employers wanting to combat this must consider regular changes, such as training and job rotation that slows burnout and keeps this group interested in the work they’re doing.

Offer Flexible Work

Amongst millennials, just under 90% would prefer to work at a time of their choice as opposed to 9-5. Nearly half of millennials would take flex time or more vacation over increased pay. This generation is highly motivated by flexibility.

For most integrators, there are some positions that don’t fit well with this line of thinking; however, for sales pros, programmers, or financial managers, is it possible to offer a little more schedule flexibility as long as the work gets done?

Many companies still subscribe to 9-5 hours, but really have no idea why. Perhaps this is a way to garner better talent without having to pay as much. Perhaps it will even drive loyalty?

Love Technology

More than half of millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than their iPhone. (Who needs to taste their food?) They are highly connected to their devices, apps and social networks. They seek to work with companies that embrace technology like BYOD, and that have an open mind about social media networks.

RELATED: 17 Employee Management Dos & Don’ts for Integrators

Did you know that 56% of millennials won’t even work for a company that doesn’t allow employees to utilize social media?

Provide Feedback

If you really want to get millennials on your side, then perhaps the most important consideration is helping them see where the business is going. Studies have shown that 95% of millennials are more motivated to perform when they know where they’re headed.

Also, 80% seek regular, on-the-spot feedback instead of formal (delayed) reviews. That same 80% seeks regular feedback from their managers. In short, millennials must feel close to the company and their bosses, or they will quickly become disconnected.

While we may interpret millennials’ fickle and demanding employment style as entitlement (or even laziness), they truly see work differently. When they are properly motivated and incentivized, millennials can become tremendous assets by bringing creativity and solutions that meet the demands of a world being born and raised on technology.

The original version of this article ran on NSCA.org.

MORE: Why Retention is Critical in Talent Management

About the Author

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I am a principal analyst of Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. I spend my time researching, analyzing and providing the world’s best and brightest companies with insights as to how digital transformation, disruption, innovation and the experience economy are changing how business is done. Bringing together the technology layer with the human layer, I seek to solve the biggest challenges that companies have today; how to grow, scale, change and adapt to a world where technology and media shift at breakneck speed. So what does this mean? It means that I spend my life learning about what drives people to adopt new technology so I can share those secrets with companies that are ready to take their business to the next level. From keynoting on the world’s largest stages to weekly insights on Forbes, MarketWatch and our owned media properties, my goal is to provide our clients with what they need to know to out innovate and turn disruption from threat, into a business model for success.

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