The shift in demographics to a Millennial-dominated workforce has been a frequent topic of conversation in the business world over the last few years. Common perceptions of employer and employee relationships in business have been overturned and replaced by new practices. Some businesses have done an excellent job in adapting to the new workforce, adjusting its benefits and corporate structure to align to new values and expectations. However, some businesses have (frankly) not done a great job in keeping up with the changing times and workforce.
For businesses to keep up with the changing landscape of workforce dynamics, here are some suggested changes to address engagement that can be implemented without massive changes in business structure or a shift in day-to-day operations.
The expectation that employees must work a nine-to-five schedule and be in the office five days a week is no longer the norm of what makes a good employee. When appropriate and if the position responsibilities allow it, companies should be open to negotiating more flexible schedules, enabling employees to create a work-life balance that works best for their individual lifestyles.
Hand in hand with flexibility, it is especially important to develop a relationship of trust between the millennial employee and the company, more specifically with the employee’s manager or supervisor. Employees must earn that trust by meeting deadlines, completing assigned projects, and being accountable to his or her job responsibilities. If that employee has put in the time to effectively create trust, then the topic of flexibility regarding work schedule may be visited if interest is shown.
Coach Instead of Manage
The time of the yearly review and hierarchical business structure has passed. While yearly reviews may still be a part of annual performance evaluations, review meetings between managers and their direct reports are now occurring on a more frequent basis. Millennials crave direct feedback to create an atmosphere of teamwork. While managers need to maintain a level of authority and respect, the goal should be to create a coaching conversation that leads employees to improve their skills in their current role as well as achieve their personal career goals. It is important for millennials to feel valued for their hard work, instead of just being another cog in the corporate machine.
Extend New Challenges
We live in a fast-paced world where a new breakthrough in technology or medicine occurs every day of the week. It should come as no surprise that millennials, who have grown up with access to new information at their fingertips, get bored with performing the same job responsibilities day in and day out. Even with the promise of a promotion or raise, it is typically the same type of work and utilizing the same set of skills to accomplish the work. The ability to diversify employee roles or to have an efficient system to laterally move employees between groups within the company helps keep millennials more engaged and invested in their jobs.
These are just a few practices that might help your company adjust to the new dynamics in the workforce. Not only will businesses be experiencing a shift due to the growth of the millennial demographic, the business world must also be prepared for the Gen Z demographic to become a part of the equation. By implementing small changes now, businesses will be better able to adapt to additional modifications in the future.