When it comes to employee engagement, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Organizations need to account for generational differences in the way they address engagement. Yet, what all generations have in common is a shared desire for accomplishment, an organization to be proud of, and a job to enjoy.
So, with millennials forming around a third of the global workforce, what can organizations do to truly engage with this demographic?
In the Middle East, the three most impactful drivers are: the organization's reputation, a sense of accomplishment, and people/HR practices.
1. Drive engagement by enhancing the organization’s reputation
Millennials are a self-expressive bunch. They are not afraid to share experiences, views and ideas with their various connections; therefore, creating a powerful – and very public – imprint of the organization. So how can this be leveraged to raise engagement internally?
• Stand out as an authentic place to work: Upload videos of employees talking about their job, their day and the organization.
• Encourage expressiveness: Set up a group that meets regularly to identify opportunities for improving the workplace experience.
• Solicit input proactively and transparently: Don’t discourage younger employees from questioning the organization’s strategy and results.
2. Nurture a sense of accomplishment
Often, millennials’ desire for a sense of accomplishment has been misinterpreted to indicate unrealistic expectations for rapid advancement. Instead, what if this is viewed as a desire to shape the organization’s direction? Consider:
• Structuring work so that employees participate in ‘projects’ with a structure, clear objectives and measures of success, which will help provide more tangible accomplishments.
• Analyzing some of the most typical career paths in your organization and measuring how long it takes to achieve key career milestones. Is there a rapid and clear pathway for advancement? Is the organization committed to the career progression of current employees or are external candidates more likely to be parachuted in?
3. Deliver people and HR practices that work
HR policies and practices often do not actively promote employee engagement and can be confusing for employees. If your organization’s HR policies and processes have not changed for a long time, why not leverage millennials’ enthusiasm and fresh thinking to identify innovative policies and processes that energize – not restrain – your workforce?
In a nutshell, millennials who are entering the workforce now are a great potential source of fresh, untapped energy. They are in tune with the world, want to make an impact and are not yet set in current ways of doing things. Given the chance, millennials may well be your key to unlocking the genie of your organization’s employee engagement.