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Top 5 ways to keep millennial employees engaged

With only 29% of millennials feeling engaged at work, and 60% open to a new job opportunity, companies need to take action to attract and retain the best talent from that generation.

Keeping millennial employees engaged should be a priority for HR and L&D leaders.

Despite what the numbers tell us, millennials don't really want to change jobs – they want to change the workplace. They prioritize collaboration and creativity and want to be recognized for their contributions.


Engaging your millennial workforce

So how can HR and L&D leaders create a culture and form policies that will attract and retain the millennial dominated workforce? By focusing on employee engagement. Here are five ways to keep millennials engaged at work.

1. Support a company culture that truly values its people

Millennials crave meaningful work and want to know their efforts are appreciated, but they also need time outside of work to pursue other passions, be present with their families, or just relax. They feel valued when you respect their right to disconnect.

Offering paid time off for both personal and caregiving responsibilities is one high-impact way to help millennials feel valued. Addressing mental health concerns is also imperative. Some companies are adding additional mental health benefits, such as covering more sessions with therapists or offering employee assistance programs, to ensure

Equally important is cultivating a culture where accessing these types of benefits is encouraged. This includes making the process of accessing benefits simple and easy as well as reinforcing with managers the importance of allowing employees to tap into the benefits they need.

Some 57% of employees surveyed by Gallup couldn’t say whether they had access to mental health benefits. So frequently communicating what benefits are available — in employee newsletters, all-hands meetings, company town halls and other venues — can ensure that your workforce is aware of the benefits available to them.

It’s also helpful for senior leaders to encourage employees to use these benefits. Sometimes this can take the form of storytelling, where leaders disclose how company benefits have helped them in difficult times, modeling the behavior they want employees to adopt.


2. Recognize individual and team contributions

Create an “engagement culture” by communicating the importance of engagement upfront – in the company’s vision and mission statements, recruitment material, training and other regular communications.

Don’t wait for performance reviews. Take advantage of every opportunity to motivate and provide direction through less formal, engageable moments. One of the simplest ways is through a recognition program.

In organizations that incorporate recognition practices, employee engagement and productivity are around 14% better than in the ones that don’t. It doesn't have to be extravagant; even small acts of recognition can go a long way in motivating and engaging employees.

Recognition can take many forms – verbal or written praise, a bonus for a job well done, or even offering special rewards such as extra vacation days or tickets to an event. What's important is that companies make it a point to show their appreciation when an employee has gone above and beyond.

Companies should also strive to recognize not just individual efforts but also team efforts to foster collaboration and create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Recognition shouldn't just be limited to just the most successful projects or team players. Publicly marking progress toward a goal, as well as achievement, encourages continued growth and on-the-job engagement.


3. Prioritize psychological safety

Psychological safety doesn't mean that everyone agrees with each other all the time. It means that different points of view are respected and people can say what they mean – and even risk making mistakes – without fear of repercussions.

This kind of atmosphere encourages collaboration and fosters creative problem solving and innovation. Prioritizing psychological safety attracts outstanding talent to your organization and increases productivity once they’re onboard.

Structure this type of environment with open dialogues between all team members, regardless of titles. Accommodate different learning and communication styles and offer flexible ways for teams to work together on projects, including remotely if possible. Consider facilitating group brainstorm or think tank sessions, demonstrating firsthand the openness and collaborative spirit you’re aiming for. Encouraging feedback from everyone involved ensures everyone's voice is heard.


4. Safeguard against change fatigue

Change fatigue can be caused by rapid-fire changes over a short period of time, leading to employee burnout and overwhelm. Strive to create an environment that allows for consistent progress, rather than rapid shifts in direction and strategy with an “open source” approach to change management, where everyone has a role to play in change.

This includes communicating in advance about pending changes, explaining why they’re happening and what it will mean to individual employees and teams. Create opportunities for employees to ask questions and raise concerns, while also responding sincerely to issues that are raised.

Communicating change isn’t a one-time event. Instead, there should be multiple communications and reminders before, during and after a change to ensure that people feel they understand what’s going on in their workplace and what it means for them.

Consistent progress allows employees to feel like they are part of something bigger, inspiring a sense of pride and boosting loyalty to the organization.


5. Provide opportunities for learning and professional development

Knowing which opportunities to offer begins with skill-mapping across your workforce. An overview of the skills of the individuals, teams and departments that make up your organization aids in mapping out career paths according to the needs of the business. It also can help align employees’ existing skills and interests with your organization’s business strategy.

Even though clear career paths are a top priority for 47% of HR leaders, 44% still believe their organizations don’t have compelling career paths. Providing attractive career paths gives employees clarity about their future with the organization and can boost engagement.

Offer upskilling and reskilling, while simultaneously taking your recognition program to another level, by offering digital credentials. Not only do employees benefit from recognition every time they earn a new badge, but your talent pool is constantly leveling up while job corridors from one role to the next open up to them. Providing compelling career paths is a sound strategy in retaining talent.


A platform for workforce engagement

Implementing these practices is easier with a workforce management platform that provides up-to-date skills data, information on career paths and more. More information about your millennial workforce can help you nurture a more engaged workforce.

Smart companies are using digital credentialing and skills management software to predict what areas of the business will require more resources in the future and making plans for how to achieve those goals over time.

Our workforce solutions give organizations forward-looking analytics, forecasting tools, and verified skills data that workforce planning teams can use to take a skills-based approach to talent management.

Schedule a demo to learn more today.