Engagement. Engagement. Engagement.
It’s all the hype these days, especially with the workplace changing and remote working situations on the rise. And rightfully so.
A five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a 3% growth in revenue, according to a recent report by Aon. The study also revealed that global employee engagement levels dropped for the first time in five years. This isn’t good for businesses. As engagement falls, so does financial performance.
This isn’t due to a lack of engagements surveys and information. We spend at least $1B a year on employee engagement surveys. Yet accordingly to Forbes, most companies say they aren’t getting the value they want. The Workplace Genome Project estimates that 40% of HR professionals rarely do anything meaningful with engagement data results. Why?
Because these studies don’t measure underlying, root causes. These studies measure symptoms and outcomes. So, while the data may be interesting, it gives no insight into where a problem should be addressed, or what to do about it. Engagement doesn’t necessarily mean employee satisfaction. However, by understanding your millennial employees and getting to know them, you can engage them in ways that lead to feeling satisfied in the workplace.
According to research by the Teleos Leadership Institute, employees want 3 things:
- A meaningful vision of the future
- A sense of purpose
- Great relationships
An effective system of monitoring employee engagement will measure all 3 of these components. There are a lot of different factors and data points that can be analyzed and dissected. You want to make sure you are measuring the ones that are relevant and have a direct relationship with your employee engagement. Gallup has what they call the Q12 to measure engagement which include the following questions:
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
Once you understand engagement levels, you can then work to improve them. The only way to do that is by understanding your millennials employees, and what specific strategies lead to better engagement. Here are some strategies that will improve millennial employee engagement.
Ask Tough Questions to Understand Your Millennials
While perks and benefits may appeal to millennials, by themselves they will not engage and keep them over a long period of time. From the day you interview your millennial employees and onward, be proactive. Ask them questions in order to understand what drives them personally. Why does this matter?
Knowing what motivates or demoralizes certain employees allows you to create an ideal workplace environment and keep an eye on your employees. You can be strategic in what tasks you give to who, how often you show appreciation, whether or not to give them tough love, and when give them more space. Some of your millennials may value flexible hours over pay, while others are more motivated by commission opportunities. You can increase engagement among your millennial employees by asking tough questions. Learn what drives them.
Some examples of questions to ask are:
- What are you passionate about?
- Do you prefer working in a structured, or more casual environment?
- Where do you think you can add the most value?
- What are your goals?
Provide Feedback on a Regular Basis
Performance management and senior leadership were the two weakest engagement points for companies in North America, according to Aon’s 2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement. Focus on improving these “weak points” by improving your communication with millennial employees. Consider designing a system or schedule to ensure you are proactive in engaging with your millennials. A feedback strategy is a great way to stay updated with your millennials. By doing this, you can better recognize pain points and solve them, address certain needs, and more.
Leadership and management can be improved by providing consistent feedback to your millennials. A feedback strategy will make it 10 x easier. This isn’t to say you will only engage with them when your schedule says too. However, it will help you stay relevant and engaged in your relationships, which will therefore improve your leadership and management, which will improve engagement.
Data is useless if you don’t know what it means, or don’t know what to do with it. Understand that millennial engagement in the workplace is directly correlated with revenue growth. Make an effort to engage your millennials by measuring the aspects of engagement that matter most. Learn about what drives your millennials. Get to know them by asking tough questions. Communicate with them on a regular basis. Be strategic and create a feedback system to make sure you’re on top of it. By focusing on your millennial engagement, your company will benefit.