Serving as the largest generation in the US, millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2030.
As this population continues to dominate the corporate space, it becomes increasingly important for employers to create a working environment where this diverse population can thrive.
Unfortunately, common misconceptions continue to paint millennial employees in a negative light. This clouded judgment can often result in non-productive leadership moves.
“The truth is, millennials are no lazier or more entitled, selfish, or disloyal than any previous generation,” says Chris Tuff, advertising executive and national best-selling author of The Millennial Whisperer. “They just grew up with different experiences than older generations, and are motivated by different things.”
To truly enhance productivity in a millennial-centric workplace, it’s time for businesses to let go of common stereotypes and start revamping their strategies.
Retain and motivate the largest labor force with these trusted tactics:
Stay open and authentic.
Millennials seek superiors who offer honest communication. Leaders can initially feel intimidated by this work style, but it’s not as daunting as it may seem.
“Transparency can scare leaders, as they worry that they have to disclose all financials or cry in front of people,” says Tuff. “In reality, it’s just about human connection.”
To encourage authentic communication in the workplace, Tuff advises making room for non-business chatter in team meetings and staying connected with employees on social media.
Another easy way to bring more empathy into the office? Swap traditional cash bonuses for something a little more meaningful, such as concert tickets.
Open communication also helps increase employee alignment. Transparent leaders are able to maintain employees who understand the company’s mission and can effectively contribute to big-picture goals.
On the flip side, transparency is also about taking the time to assess and acknowledge whether an employee is the best fit.
If a certain role isn’t working out, leaders should focus on helping the employee find an alternative that may be more aligned with where their head and heart is.
Establish an effective reward system.
To keep millennials motivated, start generating more excitement around work accomplishments.
By creating a fun reward system, employees are more likely to strive for that recognition.
“At the beginning of every meeting, I give out ‘snaps’ to recognize an employee for a job well done,” says Tuff. “The rest of the team then snaps in response, generating more acknowledgement throughout the room.”
Additional strategies include impromptu call-outs, or displaying recent recognitions on a common wall.
These simple strategies can go a long way in helping employees feel appreciated for their contributions, and stay inspired to succeed.
Support their entrepreneurial spirit.
To appeal to the creative millennial mindset, it’s especially critical for corporations to create a purpose-driven environment.
Tuff advises leaders to remain supportive and flexible toward passion projects and side hustles. For instance, allow employees to take off work to volunteer for a cause that they support. Approval can also be expressed through offering genuine feedback and advice.
To maintain a healthy balance between an entrepreneurial spirit and company structure, it’s all about connecting the dots.
“Have employees define their own personal purpose statements, and map it back to the company purpose,” says Tuff. “Then ask for three things that can be put in place to help them pursue their goals.”
Remember that beer kegs can’t fix bad culture.
A modernized office may be intriguing, but a cereal bar and barista service won’t make millennials stick around.
Companies often implement fun features as an attempted speedy solution, when they should instead be revisiting their core values and reassessing what’s missing.
Tuff recommends getting back to the heart of the organization, and working backwards accordingly.
“We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm,” says Tuff. “However, there’s no quick fix to bad culture.”