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Creating an Organizational Culture that Engages Millennial Employees

Date Published

Dec 01, 2016
5 minute read

Employee engagement is a critical concern for most organizations, with Gallup polls showing that disengaged employees cost $319 billion in lost productivity every year. And after the Pew Research Center found that millennials have surpassed Generation Xers as the largest generation in the United States labor force (with significant growth projected in the coming years), engaging millennial employees has become a top priority for today’s leading organizations.

The millennial workforce is like no other. This is a generation which grew up in an interconnected, digital world. The expectations they have about work, technology, advancement, and culture are different as compared to their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Creating an organizational culture that will attract and retain millennial employees requires special considerations.

The Clearing has helped numerous organizations adapt to the changing face of the American workforce by creating a culture of engagement among millennials and other key employees. What follows are helpful tips for creating an organizational culture that has the power to engage millennial employees.

What do millennials demand from their employers?

As a generation, millennials lack loyalty in the workplace. Repeated studies show that 60% of millenials leave their employers within three years of being hired. With employee turnover frequently cited as a painful expense for employers, organizations must learn how to give millennials a reason to stay. Fortunately, millennial employees are very good at making their demands clear, as long as their employers are willing to listen.

  • Link passions to work: Millennial employees don’t view their passions and interests as being separate from their work. They are more likely to be engaged at work when their employers provide opportunities for them to tap into their interests in the workplace.
  • A thing and not a place: Millennial employees expect their work to be measured in output rather than hours spent sitting at their desk. 81% believe they should set their own work schedules, and they are quick to leave a job that offers little flexibility or a negative work-life balance.
  • Friends and fun: According to a PGi study, 88% of millennials want a “fun and social” workplace. A disconnect with coworkers can doom employee engagement and retention among millennial employees.
  • Transparent communication is key: Millennials expect their employers to communicate honestly and efficiently. They are used to fast, transparent technology, and they want to work with organizations that can provide similar levels of openness in areas such as conversations with management.
  • Personal growth matters: Millennial employees want mentors, and they want to know that they have the potential to branch out and achieve new things in the workplace. Millennials demand opportunities to advance within their organizations, and they won’t hesitate to seek a new employer if they feel that those opportunities are lacking.

So, what does a millennial-friendly organizational culture look like?

In order to attract, retain, and engage millennial employees, organizations need to meet their demands. We’ve noted in previous blogs that extravagant workplace perks don’t work, but what tactics will foster employee engagement and retention among millennials?

  1. Create an organizational culture that is flexible and accommodating. Millennials are used to being connected anywhere, at any time. Rather than demanding a strict 9-5 schedule, an organizational culture that emphasizes work-life balance, offers flexible scheduling and allows at least part-time telecommuting can be a better fit for the average millennial. Measuring performance and productivity based on output rather than hours is another way to ensure that your organization is fostering employee engagement among younger employees.
  2. Promote social responsibility. Millennial employees bring their passions and interests to work with them, and they want to feel as though the work they do offers some benefit to society. Creating an organizational culture that includes social responsibility and opportunities for employees to give back will prove valuable among millennials. One additional tip: take care to listen to your employees when designing your charitable initiatives. This will maximize their engagement and interest.
  3. Match employees to mentors and take part in their development. When on-boarding a millennial employee, consider his or her anticipated career development over the coming years. Creating an organizational culture that offers opportunities for millennials to work with mentors, learn new skills, and develop their abilities as leaders is critical to retaining these employees. Fostering a culture of growth and advancement is one of the best ways an organization can retain this fickle generation. Having a mentorship program will aid you in attracting millennials as well by showing that you’ve invested in them both personally and professionally.

Is your organization struggling to attract, retain, and engage a new generation of employees? Contact The Clearing to discuss how our consulting services can help.