This post has been repurposed for the XYZ University blog with the permission of Gina Soleil.
Engaging Gen Y (i.e. Millennials) is one of the hottest topics in Corporate America. From Google to Amazon, engaging Gen Y seems to be the permanent wallpaper of choice. And if you’re like most, the amount of information to sift through can be overwhelming and often times frustrating for Xers and Boomers alike. So listen up, I’ve got great news, Gen Y is not as complicated as everyone thinks. They’re an amazingly brilliant generation, and their basic needs within organizations are pretty simple and straightforward: Talk with me, respect me, and help me grow.
It’s that simple. If you want to engage Gen Y, talk to them. Literally sit down and have a conversation with them about their life. Ask them about their family, friends, and interests. Take the time to show the Gen Y employee on your team that you’re human and actually care about them as an individual person. If you’re wondering how this is any different than how you would approach another generation – it’s not. Gen Y is no different, they are starving for their leaders to interact with them on a personal level. Research backs it up. When you consistently engage in meaningful conversation with Gen Y, they respond with a heightened level of productivity, retention and company loyalty.
Show Gen Y a little respect – they deserve it. The greatest desire of Gen Y is to have their Xer and Boomer co-workers and leaders recognize the value they bring to the workplace. Next to simple conversation, the second way to immediately boost Gen Y engagement is to actively put your stereotypes away and start listening and acting upon their ideas. Not all their ideas will be the next “big thing”, but their ideas are worth listening to none-the-less, and their ideas just might be the fresh new perspective your company needs.
If you’re having trouble swallowing the notion of giving Gen Y respect because you don’t think they show you any respect, I challenge you to look in a mirror. Regardless of generation, your employees are a direct reflection of you and you are a direct reflection of your employees. If you personally start showing Gen Y respect and truly begin applying value to their skills and ideas, they will in return show you respect and want to go above and beyond.
Lastly, contrary to popular belief, Gen Y wants to learn from you and grow in their career. They want to know that the opportunity to move forward exist within your company. Remember, this is the generation that was given a Franklyn Covey in the 2nd grade. Their Boomer parents gave them a blueprint on how to succeed from age 2 – 18, and their entire life has been predicated on how to achieve the next step in order to attain their ultimate goal. Gen Y has been told since before they can remember that they can be and achieve anything they put their mind toward. Yes, Boomer parents you created the employees that now perplex your workplace.
That being said, the solution is easy. Simply give Gen Y a “blueprint” on how to attain their career goals (a.k.a. a career path). When you give them a task, help them understand how to physically attain the results YOU’RE looking for them to achieve. Gen Y wants to do well, and they will! Their Gen X and Boomer leaders just need to take the time and give them a road map on HOW.
Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?