Do you need a Gen-Y Employee Engagement Strategy?

Companies need to understand what these employees value and strive for so that they can develop better engagement and long term retention strategies.

Many organisations are struggling with motivation in the workplace and particularly with Gen-Y employees. Through research, a new staff engagement strategy can be built for this demographic.
This year TIME published an article which described this group, otherwise known as Millennials, as “lazy entitled narcissists.”

Evidently Gen-Y employees are gaining a bad reputation where motivation is concerned. 

Yet, employer’s engagement strategies may be misplaced as a different approach is needed for this demographic.

It’s now clear that the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t working.
Significant differences have been found between the factors that underpin the employee commitment of younger and older employees. To save resources on recruitment, by decreasing staff turnover, these factors must be addressed to increase staff retention.

Younger workers, consistent with Generation Y claims, are the most change-orientated and career-driven. Both career progression and personal growth decrease in importance with age.

Meanwhile, older employees have higher levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Younger staff are often finding their footing in a career, ambitious and in need of encouragement.

Gen-Y also has a higher level of university graduates than ever before.

The study also showed that there are educational differences between employees’ needs. Staff with a degree-level education place higher importance on work values linked to challenge and advancement.

These include career progression, job satisfaction, personal growth and autonomy.  In contrast, non-graduate employees value more tangible, immediate factors such as salary, line manager relationships, loyalty and working conditions.

Staff Engagement Strategy

One way to find out how to motivate staff from Generation Y is to conduct an employee engagement survey. By enlisting a third party, you create anonymity and your workforce can be more open and honest in their responses. The results will show the differences between your employees’ needs and follow-up action can be taken to engage staff. This in turn will lower staff turnover and save resources.

Gen-Y and Technology

It is suggested that technology is a driving factor in Gen-Y motivation in the workplace. They work and socialise through technology. So by providing them with the best tools to perform their work, they will be more productive and engaged.  Keeping up to date with technology can reduce churn and can also make companies more competitive in other ways. If at all possible, technology is an investment in both the organisation and its staff.

Gen-Y Employees and Appreciation

Forbes suggests simply beginning a meeting by asking about something other than work.  This will make Gen-Y employees feel like they are recognised as individuals and increase their sense of belonging.
Unfortunately, due to the boomerang effect, a longer time in education and a tough economic climate, Generation Y are also living longer at their parents’ home. They have become accustomed to being encouraged and are somewhat needy. They favour instant  gratification such as garnering followers and likes on social media.
This group does need more encouragement than former generations. By genuinely thanking them for a smaller task they’ve done well or challenging them with a project, they feel appreciated and trusted.

In turn, this will increase your Gen-Y employees’ organisational commitment. Furthermore, it will increase productivity and decrease staff turnover.

Gen-Y Employees and Flexibility

More and more, people are working flexible hours. Commuting is overcrowded, people have different patterns and want work-life balance. Some companies have to deal with a 24-7 business environment.

Employees of all generations are coming to expect organisations to adapt and rely less on a 9-5 workday. Flexible working hours can benefit some companies directly, from news companies to international conglomerates. It also can be beneficial indirectly.

By offering more flexible working hours, employees feel more like individuals. When working hours can meet your employees’ needs, they come to work more relaxed and motivated. This is certainly something to consider across the board.

Gen-Y employees are creative, highly skilled, adaptable and technology literate. By acknowledging this demographic, companies can make the most of their investments in recruiting and training.
Contact and find out more about how they can help your organisation address its engagement challenge.

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