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.
There are FIVE main things I have learned about the Millennial Generation:
- Purpose Driven
- 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.
- Career Paths
- 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.
- 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.
- Volunteering / Giving
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
The 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!
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?