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5 Steps to Keep the Multi-Generational Workplace Human

With the increased digitization of our businesses, it’s easy for employees to start feeling isolated and forgotten, like they just don’t matter. Where we previously had to pick up the phone or walk across the office if we wanted to talk to one another, now we can communicate with just a couple keystrokes. Where co-workers previously spent all day sitting in adjacent cubicles, now team members can be spread across the city, country, or even the world.

While technology has allowed us to work faster and more efficiently, it’s also contributed to higher levels of stress and anxiety among workers. Because as technology has changed the way we work, we’ve kind of forgotten the most important element: the people.

So if you care about keeping your humans happy (and you should because happier employees are more productive and successful at work) make sure you’re taking these five steps to keep your multi-generational workplace human:  

Communicate Like a Human

We have the power of speech for a reason: to communicate! So instead of texting your employees, actually pick up the phone and call them (yes, even your Millennial and Gen Z employees). Or better yet, drop by their desk and have a real conversation complete with facial cues and body language. Yes, it’s inefficient and yes, it might not be the most productive use of time, but real human communication is essential to forming better relationships and bridging the gap in the multi-generational workforce. Which brings me to my next point:

Face Time Not FaceTime

You’ve got to encourage your people to have meaningful face-to-face interactions. That means coming out from behind the computer screen and planning regular in-person meetings, going to lunch, or grabbing coffee together. As a boss or manager, one of the most valuable things you can do is plan one-on-one meetings with each of your employees. And when you’ve met with them all, go back and start over again.

Provide Individualized Mentoring for Career Success

One thing we hear over and over again from the young Millennial and Gen Z employees we coach and train is that they want personalized mentorship from their bosses and managers. They don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. They want individualized support to help them learn, grow, and achieve their career goals. As we previously discussed, mentoring and coaching is the new leadership development training. So make sure you’re giving all your employees the right support and not just a one-size-fits-all solution.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Work is a big part of our lives. But it’s not our whole life. So encourage your employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Don’t give them grief if they ask to leave early to catch their kid in a school play or need to come in late because their dog got sick. If they’re not feeling well, tell them to stay home and rest even if you’re in the middle of a big project. Tell them to have a great vacation and actually mean it. Respect your employees enough to trust that the work will still get done.

Show You Care

Our #1 tip for keeping the multi-generational workplace human? Show your employees you care. Take an interest in their lives. Ask how their weekend was, how their spouse is doing, what their kids are up to. And then actually listen to the answers. Say “Thank You” and “Good Job!” Get to know them as people and demonstrate that you really care.

 

Keeping the workplace human in the age of technology isn’t hard. It just takes conscious effort and systems that are designed to encourage it. If you’re struggling to provide a human workplace that keeps your employees engaged, reach out to us. We’ve developed systems and frameworks you can implement in your multi-generational organization to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your people. Click here to schedule a discovery call with one of our high-performance coaches!

What Millennials Want From Employers

After training over 14,000 millennials around the world from the United States to as far away as Singapore, I’ve discovered that millennials all want the same four things from their employers. The good news? It’s not rocket science. The bad news? Most employers are still not getting it right with their millennial and gen z employees.

Millennials around the world face unique pressures from their governments, culture, and society, but they’re pretty united on what they want out of life, especially from the workplace. Just take a look at this Reddit thread from the summer of 2018 – I’m sure you’ll notice that a lot of the ideas floated by the millennials in this thread sound identical to things you’ve heard from the mouths of your own millennial employees.

The problem of connecting generations is not an American problem, but a global problem. And whether you have a mom-and-pop shop or own an international powerhouse, you need to pay attention to the things your younger employees want from you in order to better connect with them. Getting it right with all your employees is the real key to company growth. So if you want to grow in 2019 (and I bet you do!) you need to learn and implement these four concepts in your workplace:

Millennials Want to Learn and Grow

Millennials want to learn from you, gain real skills, and grow their careers. They are looking for employers who can mentor and guide them or at the very least, make sure they’re getting the education and developmental support they crave.

If you’re not up for mentoring your employees (though I highly encourage you to be that for them) there are tons of resources you can provide them with instead. Earlier this year we talked about the eLearning Revolution. Allow them to sign up for webinars, online conferences, and even courses that will either further develop their skills for the role they have or help them move towards the job they want within your company. You can also send to in-person conferences, seminars, masterminds, networking groups, or workshops to support their professional development. Once a month we teach Strengths & Story here at launchbox – click here to send them to our next workshop. We can also come to your office and work with your team directly.

Millennials Want You to Be Real With Them

As digital natives, the average millennial can sniff out BS a mile away. They’ve seen it ALL. Every sales scheme, fake photo, doctored video, or piece of fake news out there. By default, they expect that people aren’t being honest with them – so it’s up to you to BE REAL!

Millennials want to know your real-deal vision for your company, your plans, goals, and how they specifically fit into that picture of the future. They want to know if there’s potential to grow with your company and if there is, if your vision for their role aligns with their own personal goals. Again, they want to learn and grow and need to know if your company is the place for them to do that. But they can only be sure of it if you get real with them and communicate authentically and transparently about where you’re going.

Millennials Want Great Feedback and Communication

Millennials want authentic feedback from you and clear communication about your expectations for them. They are trying to better themselves both to serve their own goals and yours, but they can’t do that if you’re not straight with them. Learn to deliver honest and consistent feedback daily and coach them to do the same for you. Yes, you deserve great feedback, too! Feedback is how we all learn and grow.

You also need to teach and model good communication skills for your millennial and gen z employees across all mediums: face-to-face, phone, email, and text. For some of your employees, your business might be their first “real job”. So don’t be surprised if they don’t communicate in a way that’s appropriate for the workplace. But it’s up to you to teach them! Don’t be the boss that gripes about them under your breath without doing anything to fix the problem. If you don’t help, then you’re PART of the problem!

Millennials Want Purpose and Contribution

Perhaps above all other things on this list, your millennial employees want to feel that their work has purpose and that they’re contributing in some way, whether it’s to your company or the world at large. For some companies, purpose and contribution are embedded into their very DNA. It’s easy to see who they serve, why they serve them, and how they’re making a difference. But for other companies, it’s not so clear-cut. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook though. Your millennial and gen z employees want purpose and contribution. And it’s up to you to give it to them or risk losing them to another company that will.

Not sure how to connect the who, what, why, and how of your company to topics of purpose and contribution for your employees? We can help. We can assist you in discovering and developing your personal story and by extension, your company’s story. When you know who you are and what you stand for, you can better articulate what your company is and what IT stands for. The clearer you can make the vision, the better you’ll be able to help your employees find their own purpose and contribution within your company. Because they’re right: the best way to motivate people and retain them, is to give them the sense that what they do actually matters.

 

Having trouble connecting the generations in your workplace? Reach out to us at launchbox to discuss how we can help!