7 great tactics to keep younger employees engaged

The topic of keeping younger employees, or Millennials, engaged at work seems to have become hot issue lately. And there’s very good reason for it!

As the economy continues to recover from the doldrums, and new jobs are created across many sectors, younger workers are beginning to move on from their current positions to find jobs that match their long-term ambitions.

In fact, only 18% of Millennials say they see a future with their current employer, which isn’t good news for organisations that want to grow.

As part of our Best Employer Eastern Region Initiative, we have written about tactics that you can use to keep more experienced staff happy. But how do you deal with your younger colleagues who have different needs?

Tough task? Well, we’ve done some of the work for you. Read our advice and create a new plan of action aimed at your younger staff, who are waiting to be inspired…

Get to know them better

Your younger employees probably want different things to their older colleagues. Being of a younger generation they see life through different eyes, and many have entered the workplace through a non-traditional route due to the recession. They may also possess some of the latest knowledge and techniques gained at university or by keeping an eye on industry innovation. This may be fantastic for productivity, but younger workers may be tempted to take their talents elsewhere if they’re feeling bored. So find out what their motivations are to create a solid basis for an engagement plan.

Give them interesting work

It’s essential to give younger people work that keeps them involved. They have a fresh energy that is driving them to find the right path in their new professional lives. Although many of their jobs may not be that interesting by nature, you could shape future roles or tweak existing ones so they are more engaging. Could they support some research that’s taking place? Or could they sit on a committee of some kind?

Support a balanced life

Although no less ambitious that older generations, Millennials are conscious of striking a positive work-life balance. Creating a culture that enables younger people to get their work done (no matter how challenging it may be) so they can also still enjoy a social life can only be a positive move. It helps create a less stressful workplace, and introduces them to beneficial work habits early in their career.

Demonstrate ethics

Many of our younger workers have spent their early careers watching negative news stories of mismanaged businesses as the credit crunch took hold. They’re very mindful of choosing a good employer, and want their bosses to demonstrate ethics, responsibility and deliver on their promises.

Give them context

Many junior workers are yet to develop a broader perspective of where their job fits into the bigger picture. But helping them understand how they contribute to the organisation will make them feel more valued. The bottom of ladder isn’t necessarily an easy place to be if you’re rarely inspired or feel part of the broader vision.

Let them collaborate

Teamwork seems to be a big draw for younger staff. Providing them with opportunities to work together with different colleagues keeps them stimulated. Adding social elements to collaboration such as working over lunch or in a café may also give workers the informal atmosphere that they many will love.elements to collaboration such as working over lunch or in a café may also give workers the informal atmosphere that they many will love.

Offer great development opportunities
Many smart younger people aren’t content with plugging away in dull roles waiting for opportunities for promotion. They’re switched on and driven, and they want to develop their skills. Don’t risk losing these lively minds; think about their future too, and give them frequent opportunities to develop and train. Then back it up by recognising their progress, and making sure they hear about suitable internal vacancies

There’s so much that can be done to keep Millennials engaged at work. It may take a shift in more traditional ways of working, but it will probably pay off in the long run!

**Of course all generations show some or all of these characteristics and age doesn’t necessarily define an individuals approach or attitude**

 Lynn Walters profile picture

Written by

Lynn Walters

Lynn is a founding Director of Pure and leads Pure Executive. She has over 25 years’ experience recruiting for executive appointments, and helps east of England-based businesses with senior management and board-level recruitment. Lynn also leads our Best Employers Eastern Region initiative and Women’s Leadership Programme, both of which help companies and people develop.

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