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Why Millennials Aren't Engaged At Work

By 2025, millennials will be responsible for over 75% of the workforce. According to a Gallup study that included over 1 million millennial respondents, only 29% felt “engaged” at their job. What does this mean for your business? Your profit, productivity, and innovation are at risk. What does this mean for millennials' well-being? Well if they aren’t happy at work, it could affect how they perform as citizens, consumers, and employees. How do you solve for these problems?

By implementing these three things:

Challenge them

As a business development manager, my job is to prospect. It doesn’t matter how large my pipeline is or how well I am doing, the job requires me to always look for more and to find new ways to do it. Jill Konrath once said, “What differentiates sellers today is their ability to bring fresh ideas”. I believe that quote could also be applied to management. “What differentiates managers today is their ability to bring fresh ideas”, not by just focusing on metrics (phone calls, sales, etc.). Focus on the intangibles and continue to challenge millennials with fresh “management” ideas. This doesn’t mean “Hey Johnny, you placed 8 people last month, let’s go for 10!”. This means finding new ways to make your millennials think out of the box to achieve their goals. Help them realize their full potential and challenge them not to settle.

Allow them to take ownership

By continuing to find different ways to challenge millennials, you will start to see a trend that you should encourage. Millennials will begin to take ownership of their role. This is the second area I see as a missed opportunity in today’s management. Managers should consistently ask millennials for their input on challenges within a business. Managers should encourage millennials to take “controlled risk” when it comes to their role. Never allow risks that could jeopardize the team or business, but “controlled risk” will allow them to take ownership in what they are doing. An example would be an email campaign or a different business development strategy (Sunday night emails followed by Monday morning calls, LinkedIn messages, etc.) Even if they fail, it will allow them to recap why it failed, adjust for new strategies, and bring that innovation to the group. This is also an opportunity to build comradery throughout the group by creating dialogue on different aspects of the business.

Make sure they understand the "Why"

The last area of opportunity that I believe can increase engagement levels for millennials is around the Simon Sinek’s “WHY” theory. It is essentially why your company does what it does (outside of making money). I see a majority of companies acknowledging the idea but lacking in execution. What I mean is, companies everywhere can tell you their “Why” but does that mean millennials and other employees believe/see it? First, managers need to make sure that millennials truly understand the “Why” of a business. Don’t just tell them, show them. This will allow them to not only differentiate themselves from the competition or the idea of being a commodity, it will allow them to be engaged in what they are doing. Secondly, managers need to continue to remind them of the “Why”. Everyone feels great right after a strong motivational talk. The excitement and engagement levels are at an all-time high. But over time that will continue to decrease unless they are constantly reminded.

As I stated earlier, my job doesn’t allow me to settle, regardless of the revenue I’ve brought in or what my pipeline looks like. I believe this concept needs to be the focus when it comes to managing millennials. There are more ways to increase engagement levels for millennials, but a great starting place are the areas above. At Butler Street, we can help increase engagement levels of all your associates, particularly the newest generations. Our 4B engagement survey and follow up leadership training has proven results. Contact us and let’s get the conversation started.

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