5 Tips to Recruit, Engage, and Retain the Millennial Generation

If you have been following my blog for the last five months then you know that I am passionate about Human Resources and helping Millennials, Leaders, and Employers learn on how to Recruit, Engage, and Retain employees. The goal of this blog was to provide a Millennial insight on a variety of HR topics and issues. Today I would like to conclude and share with you an overview of what I have learned over the last five months of blogging, tweeting, and interviewing members of the Millennial Generation.

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There are FIVE main things I have learned about the Millennial Generation:

  1. Purpose Driven
    1. We want to work for a company that aligns with our own personal goals and values. So it is very important for employers to have a strong Mission, Vision, and Values that can easily relate to its employees. Millennials want to understand and know how they make a difference and contribute. Overall we want to be happy with ourselves and the work we are doing.
  2. Career Paths
    1. We like to know to know where we are going next. We are the most educated generation in the workforce right now. We are a generation that enjoys constantly learning, growing, and developing ourselves. So it is important to have clear Career Paths outlined so that we know where future opportunities lie and what we need to do to get there.
  3. Mentoring
    1. Contrary to popular belief Millennials do not know everything. Yes we are constantly learning but it means a lot when someone can take us under their wing and show us or give us experiences that we have not had a chance to have. Having someone to connect with and help us be successful shows us that you are invested in our success.
  4. Volunteering / Giving
    1. Encouraging or providing time for employees to volunteer or give back to a cause they are passionate about is a very important factor to engaging Millennials. Our generation is all about making a difference. Volunteering can also be a great teambuilding tool and a great way to create strong relationships to increase engagement. People enjoy giving back- it gives them a sense of pride/accomplishment and when they are doing it on behalf of your company it gives them a sense of pride in where they work.
  5. Transparency/Feedback
    1. Lastly Millennials want consistent and constant feedback on how they are doing, as well as, how the company is doing. Constant communication is important for this Generation because it is something that we are very accustomed too.

In the end we are looking to work for a company that cares about us as individuals and that has a strong purpose that aligns with our values. I hope this information helps you understand the Millennial generation a little bit better and for more in-depth information on some of these topics please feel free to read other posts from my Blog.

 

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Empowering Millennials

When starting to write this blog I asked myself- “what does empowerment really mean to me”? When I think of empowerment a couple of key words come to mind; Trust, Responsibility, Authority, and Decisions. Over the years I have heard countless times about how if you want to engage and retain your employees you have to empower them. But mangers don’t really seem to understand what that means. It doesn’t mean dumping responsibility onto someone and then making them check back with you to make all decisions. It means trusting your employee (s) or team enough to know that they will get the job done, and in a way that reflects well on you and the company.

Trust is a scary thing to give away willingly. It seems to be even harder to give away to the Millennial Generation. Millennials are young, lack experience, and often have the reputation of wanting it all now. But on the flip side we are eager to learn, to help, and are very team oriented. Millennials understand that giving up power is a difficult dilemma- you are trusting that the person you empower has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to get the job done so that it reflects well on you. Because if they fail it ultimately comes back to you. But it is good to remember that the more you empower others then the more you can focus on other aspects or strategies of leading.

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If you don’t empower others and trust them to make decisions then all you have created is a culture of fear that can’t make a decision without going through. the “bottleneck” first. So the point I am trying to make with this post is that giving people (especially Millennials) the opportunities to grow and show their competency in the work place can only benefit you. Yes we may stumble a couple of times- but we are human, it’s bound to happen regardless of age. But we thrive on that trust & that teamwork. Yes we are young but so were you once & wasn’t it frustrating when nobody took you seriously? So next time or next project – give us a chance and I know we will surprise you.

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Giving Back Increases Engagement

Have you ever heard of the phrase “it is better to give that it is to receive”? Or “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”? Giving is a powerful motivator and today that I what I would like to talk to you about. The power of giving- and how do we use that to increase engagement in the workplace.

Giving can come in any shape, size, or form. It could be a nice card, ten dollars, or recognition of some sort. Yesterday I read an amazing blog post about a company that gave each of their employees $10 with a note stating that the $10 was to be used to do something good or kind for someone else. It said that the someone else could be you, a stranger, a coworker, a family member, or for the community. The only thing that they asked in return was a note/email letting the company know what they decided to do with their $10. To read about what some of these employees managed to do with their $10 click here.

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The point I am trying to get across with this blog post is that giving back and showing kindness is inspiring. It makes people happy with themselves when they get to help others in need. When I was interning for Microsoft they dedicated an entire month calling it the “Giving Campaign” where they would hold different events to raise money for local charities and non-profits. We raised money for Breast Cancer, The Humane Society, for local K-12 Schools in our communities, and more. The money would come from the employees and whatever was raised would then be matched by Microsoft.

That month was by far my favorite month of my entire nine month internship. It was my favorite simply because it was a month about giving, and the amount of kindness & generosity shown by my coworkers at the time was absolutely inspiring. It created a level of engagement that I have never seen before in a company and created friendships & bonds that I still have today. So when you are thinking about what to do to increase & inspire engagement in your workplace- think about giving back!

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Video Blog: Seminars and Conferences

Next week I will be volunteering and attending the Annual SHRM Conference down in Las Vegas. I am so excited to attend my first professional conference! I have only heard second-hand about all the inspiring and influential speakers that come to share their stories. In all the excitement I got to thinking about how I could apply this professional conference to my blog.

I think that is very important for companies to take steps to develop and train their employees. For example, mentoring, setting them up for certain career paths, in-house training, and more. This more piece is the one I would like to talk to you about today. More, could mean attending local seminars, breakfast meetings, or even cross country conferences. By sending your employees to offsite external trainings it could help to re-energize and motivate them.

When sending employees to conferences and seminars it shows your employees that you are invested in them. You know that they have the capability to learn and retain new information and will be able to improve the workplace with their new knowledge. And Vice Versa for the employees when they get to go and learn about the latest and greatest happenings of their profession it helps to rejuvenate that passion and excitement about their field.

So in the end the message I am trying to convey to all of you listening in is that: if you have a passion for learning, and for professional development then do what you have to do to go to these professional conferences. Show some interest, Volunteer, or pitch the idea up to your boss if it is not typically something your company does. Research and show them the benefit of attending and what great things you could bring back to improve the workplace. But find a way to gain the experience, because events like these can be life changing.

The Importance of Teambuilding

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In all my blog posts I have been discussing and talking about Millennials in the workplace. I have been providing my own opinions and suggestions for what employers can do to Recruit, Engage, and Retain their talented millennial workforce. All of my blogs have been about the professional setting. But one thing that I think is important very important in the workplace is teambuilding.

Now teambuilding can take many different forms. They can be playing silly games, going out and socially drinking together, competing in an event, volunteering together, or even having a lazy day at the pool. Now leaders might ask themselves how does this help me. Won’t I lose money? Won’t productivity go down? The answer: maybe for that one day….but not in the long run.

Teambuilding activities no matter how big or small help to create impactful relationships among your employees. When employees feel like they are connected, and feel that they have friends in the workplace it increases engagement and motivation. They look forward to going to work because it doesn’t feel like work when you are working with people that you like. Teambuilding activities help to create a foundation for these relationships. It allows employees to get out of their shells and show a different side of themselves to their co-workers. It also provides a common thread for them to discuss something other than work.

Teambuilding also allows employees to rest and rejuvenate themselves. If employees work and work with no break or nothing to reenergize them, then they can burnout. Retreats, & teambuilding days are critical to help keep people from burning out too quickly. When a company provides a day for employees to go out and have fun together it shows the employee that the company is invested in their health, well-being, and happiness. This gives employees something to look forward too and get excited about.

Teambuilding may see like a waste of time to some leaders or companies. But those that have left a company because they didn’t like who they were working with, who they were working for, or all of the long hours or work they had to do with no break, these issues could be easily resolved with teambuilding activities. So I invite you all too please share ideas for teambuilding activities or team retreat days. What is the best retreat or teambuilding day you have had?

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Millennial Enlightenment- Breaking Down Barriers

millennialThe other night I went to dinner at Louis Basque Corner for my birthday dinner. This is one of my favorite restaurants simply because they serve delicious food but also because they serve A LOT of it. They also do things family style- which means that they fill all seats at the table. So there is always the chance that you will be sitting with strangers and sharing a meal. Well on this particular night we did have a complete stranger from Indiana join our table and join my family and me in my birthday celebration.

Conversation started out as polite chit chat; where we were from, what we all liked to do, explaining to him what being Basque truly meant. But after some wine a deeper conversation was struck up. He started talking about the millennial generation and how we like to hope from place to place. He spoke at length about his love for solving problems but his dislike for managing others; especially my Generation. He told me about a millennial that he had briefly worked with, he said that this particular youngster didn’t even last a year. “He wanted to be running the show right off the bat, and when he saw that wasn’t going to happen he just simply left.”

So I decided to take this opportunity to educate him on the millennial generation based off of all the blog posts, interviews, and reading I have done on the topic. I told him that yes the millennial generation does “want things”, but so does every ambitious person in this world regardless of age. Yes some people have more patience than others, could I have more patience when it comes to life in general? YES OF COURSE! But having or not having patience is not a young person things- for example let’s take a look at my 68 year old father. I have never met anyone more impatient in my entire life. For example one weekend I asked him if he would like to go take the dogs for a walk. He said yes- I asked for 5 minutes so that I could put my shoes on, go to the bathroom and grab a jacket. By the time I got done with those three things he was already out the door walking down the street. When I finally caught up with him and asked him why he left? He said, “You were taking too long I couldn’t wait”

Furthermore I explained to this complete stranger that my generation is looking for a working situation or career that aligns with their personal as well as professional goals. I informed him about how we are a generation driven by purpose. If the mission, vision, and values of the company didn’t inspire us as individuals then yeah we are going to leave. We are a generation that takes advantage of the opportunity that life presents. Overall, we just want to be happy! We are a generation that is highly educated, more tolerant, and is constantly trying to learn, grow, and develop. This sense of purpose, drive, creativity, and ambition is what is motivating my generation to go out and start their own businesses by finding needs that haven’t been met yet.

I think by the end of this conversation the stranger walked away enlighten, and with a better understanding of the millennial generation. Even if it is one person or stranger at a time I love helping to dispute the terrible stereotypes that the millennial generation has accumulated. So I encourage you all to go out and do the same!

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What makes a great Employer- a Millennial Perspective

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It takes many different elements to become a great employer. Not only do you need great leadership to inspire and engage employees but you must have a culture and environment to match. In my past blog posts I have written more in depth about a number of different ways to help become a great employer. Everything from employee engagement (making sure you are measuring it correctly), employee wellness programs, career paths, mentoring, internships, networking, volunteering, training and more. All of these pieced together can help employers go from good to great.

Now you can’t just put programs and policies in place and expect it all to work flawlessly. There are some other elements that are required in order to create a great company culture. For example: Trust, Sense of Community/Ownership, Transparency, and strong Communication. There needs to be trust at all level of the organization; trust that the executive team has the organizations customers and its employee’s best interests at heart. Trust that the employees have the company’s best interests at heart, and lastly, trust between co-workers having that team/family mentality.

By creating & having that trust in all levels of the organization you can then start to build your community. A community that bans together because of a shared purpose. And by shared purpose I mean a strong mission, vision, and values that your employees can relate to and take ownership. When employees feel that they are making a difference, they take pride in their accomplishments as a team. Employers should shoot for that team mentality first within their own teams and then expand that to the entire organization.

Transparency and strong communication are other very important elements that go hand in hand with trust. Employees want leaders/organizations that are open about issues or problems that the company is facing. Who knows the lowest man in the organization might have the million dollar solution. Or sometimes many minds working together to solve a problem is better than one so being open and honest could be a benefit. Along with that transparency it is important for employers to have good communication with their employees; for example feedback. Employees need constant feedback; they want to know how they are doing, understand what they could do better, and vice versa provide their opinions/feedback about what’s going well and what needs improvement.

In the end what I am saying is that it takes more than pay, perks, and benefits to be a good employer you need passion, purpose, trust, transparency, and strong communication to be a great one. How great is your organization? Do you see some of these elements in your organization?

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What Makes a Great Boss- a Millennial Perspective

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What are some of the top reasons that employees leave their job? Well, there are a million and a half reasons people give for leaving. Examples include going back to school, moving to different city/state, having to take care of a loved one, wanting to spend more time with loved ones, or a better opportunity presented itself. From my experience as an HR Professional people don’t quit their job, they quit their boss. So, all leaders out there reading this post- this is a shout out to you. I want to help you retain your employees.

As a leader you are held to higher standards- especially by your employees. Everything you say and do will be scrutinized. With this in mind we should ask: what are employees looking for in a leader? Employees are looking for a leader that cares about them; that will back them up in scary situations, someone that they can trust. Employees are looking for all of these things and more. Now, I am not saying you have to be all touchy feely and cry with people when they are feeling down- NO. I am saying that building a strong, trusting, and transparent relationship is important and will help build your credibility with your employees. You can build these relationships by learning what their hobbies are, about their family, what things are important to them, and what their goals are for the future; and then remembering the information.

The best boss I ever had did all of these things and then some. He was always truly genuine and when it came time for him to part ways with the company, everyone was devastated. A huge party was thrown, a video was made, and many cards were sent. Employees & leaders from all departments came to wish him good luck and farewell. I realize in hindsight all of the things that made him a great leader, and this is my way of sharing that information with you.

This boss truly cared about every one of his employees, even the intern. He knew their kids names, and their spouse’s names, sometimes even their dogs names and he asked how they were doing constantly. He also had a sense of humor! He appreciated every little task that was done by his employees. No task was ever too big or too small and it never went unnoticed. He put a lot of time and effort into building up his employees- making sure they had all the tools that they needed- and in turn this made him look good because all his goals & initiatives were getting accomplished ahead of schedule. When people came to him with questions or concerns, he wouldn’t dictate orders, he would probe and ask questions allowing the employee to deduce the correct answer. That way they learned & would retain the information better. Trust & transparency were big ticket items on his agenda and were things he looked for in his employees.

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In the end, what I learned from working for this boss was that caring about your employees, building genuine relationships, and showing appreciation are just a few things that can take you from good to great in your employee’s eyes. Who was your favorite boss and what kind of things did they do to separate themselves into the great category?

For more interesting reads about leadership visits:

Lolly Daskal

Bret Simmons

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Millennial Music Teacher Spotlight- Rachel Besand

IMG_0209The purpose of my blog is to research and learn how to “Recruit, Engage, and Retain” the Millennial Generation. So today I thought I would interview a Millennial that currently works as an elementary music teacher in Ohio. I wanted to find out what it is like to be a Millennial working as a teacher, and see what challenges she has faced.  The individual I chose to interview today graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Music Education. I know her to be a very creative, caring, and a driven person. So I asked her the following questions:

  • What is your current job title? What do you currently do?

Answer:   I am an Elementary Band Director for Strongsville City Schools in Ohio; which means I teach beginning band to 5th grade students and I also teach band to 6th grade students.

  • How long have you worked in this occupation?

Answer:   I have been working in this occupations for about 6 months, going around to different elementary schools, in three different districts.

  • What attracted you to work in this field? How did you get started in this position?

Answer: I feel like this career really choose me rather than me choosing it. I really enjoyed teaching and I have always had a passion for music so I just decided to put the two together as a career. I got started by looking for job postings, having a contact in my network, and getting lucky. There were over 200 applicants for the one Elementary Band Director position, and due to my hard work and my strong network I was able to land the position.

  • What do you like most about working as a Music Teacher?

Answer I love the age group of children, and I love the idea of getting them excited about being in a band program and starting them off with good habits. It also provides me with a great opportunity to be creative. I have been working towards this for so long. I have been taught by my predecessors and now I finally get to apply my knowledge. It is extremely rewarding to help teach these young kids who start out not knowing how to even open a music case to performing a concert.

  • What keeps you motivated & engaged in the workplace?

AnswerTeaching is kind of a thankless job, but for me it is very rewarding when you see a kid get it, and accomplish the impossible. My favorite moments are when you help those kids who are struggling, are frustrated and just not getting it, and you help them reach an “ah-ha” moment. When the light bulb clicks on, it motivates me to continue through the hardships of teaching.

  • Do you feel like you have opportunities to move up in this occupation?

Answer: Yes, I do. In the school districts there are many different music departments and the longer I am in the same district there are many other career paths that I can apply for such as Department Head- which is like a Band director/admistrator for all music faculty in the district. So there are options but it is very competitive.

  • What is it like to be a Millennial working in elementary education?

Answer: It’s very interesting. I look very young and so it has been difficult in some instances. One instance in particular is when I was teaching/subbing a high school art class. A different teacher came into the room as I was starting to teach the class and asked the students “did the substitute teacher show up yet?” I just must have blended in because she didn’t see me until I raised my hand. I have been working very hard to cross over to becoming an equal and a professional amongst more seasoned teachers/professionals. It’s difficult because as a teacher you are expected to do 100% of your job on day one as if you had been doing this for 10 years. You are expected to be able to handle any and all situations right of the bat with little to no assistance. There is one day of New Teach Orientation/Training. But other than that, I cannot see myself doing anything else and the experiences have been extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

In the end, what I learned from this interview with Rachel is that teachers are underappreciated. The work that is expected of them right off the bat is unreal. But regardless of the high expectations, what motivates and engages her to keep going is getting to witness the “Ah Ha” moments when her students finally accomplish/learn what was being taught. Helping her students to grow and develop is something she said she wouldn’t give up for the world. Overall her passion is to help young people grow. So next time you see a teacher think about all the hard work they put into helping education others and thank them!

Photo Credit: All photos were provided by and approved for use by Rachel Besand

Hands on Training for Adult Learners

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It is true that “everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t”- Bill Nye. It is important for people to continue to learn, grow, and develop moving into the future. People constantly learn and grow each day whether they are aware of it or not, through life experiences, classrooms, conferences, seminars, webinars, etc. Many people have dedicated their lives to learning & education. It is imperative that when new things are discovered and developed that we are able to pass down & transfer that knowledge to the many. That is why training and development is such an important pillar for each company.

Andragogy is the discipline that studies how adults learn. It is based on five assumptions (Self-Concept, Experience, Readiness to learn, Orientation to learning, and Motivation to learn). When working in training it is very important that you get your audience in the right mindset. An individual must be both willing to learn and have the ability to achieve the learning objectives. If employees are required to attend a training program and they already have a strong understanding of the topic, then they will have no motivation to attend and learning will most likely not occur. Additionally if an individual is required to attend a training program on something new and innovative but has the perception that there will be no support for their new knowledge when they return, their learning will suffer as well. I guess the point I am trying to make with all of this is that as a trainer you have to understand your audience, their existing knowledge, and what you can do to help them.

As a trainer you are going to face barriers and obstacles. Some people have a low tolerance for change, some have a lack of trust in the information, some people are influenced by peer pressure and what their co-workers or colleagues are discussing on the topic. So, it is important that you address these barriers early on in the training. This is why you must work hard to get your audience in the right mindset to learn and absorb the information you are trying to transfer. You want your audience to understand that you are there to help them in a way that is conducive to their specific needs. It is also important for a trainer to understand the different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Different people have different preferences and it is important that when working in training you use all three to help increase the retention of the information.

So in the end, you must be able to show your audience what is in it for them; how this training is going to help them be more successful in their role today! You need to earn their trust and build your credibility by demonstrating your understanding of their needs. You must also be wary not to treat your audience as ignorant on the subject matter, if they feel that you are condescending in your methods and approach to teaching then you have lost them and no learning will occur. Adults are tricky audiences to master, but once you have created that participative program that gives them hands on experience, then you have reached your goal as a trainer. What training challenges have you faced in your organization?

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