The Dos And Don’ts Of Engaging Millennials And Gen Z
Everyone wants to move with the times. However, it’s often harder than you may think – especially for organisations that have a set way of engaging people.
But generations are rarely static. Both millennials and Generation Z have their own priorities when they’re searching for a role. More mature workers may be seeking those benefits too – they’re just less used to asking for them.
What are they? How much do these related but distinct groups cross over? And where can you begin to modernise your engagement strategies?
This article is an excellent starting point towards courting the best young talent and satisfying their key needs from employment.
Do – offer flexible work benefits
Older generations are far more likely to clock a regular 9-5 shift and go home. Millennials, on the other hand, like to be seen as ‘work martyrs’.
43% of workers surveyed by Project: Time Off identified as millennials who go above and beyond to hit company targets. They’re not fond of using every spare holiday, and feel more guilty than their colleagues (on average) about taking time off.
However, there is a catch – you must provide flexible working packages to both millennials and Gen Z if their job permits it. They won’t mind putting in extra hours here and there as long as they’re given more trust to do the work on their terms, when it’s most convenient for them.
Don’t – limit education opportunities
How millennials learn in the workplace should be a constant factor in your employment initiatives. With a restless attention span comes the need to learn more, quickly, or move on. Gen Z are even more impatient. They may change their job up to 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34.
In practice, this means you should offer more education plans, both for work that is directly relevant to their role and skills that may help but aren’t necessary. These may include courses, language classes, coding experience and public speaking training.
To go the extra mile, offer financial support – not just the time and space to learn. Gen Z and millennial workers have less disposable cash than their forebears.
Do – encourage collaboration
In a similar vein, do you want younger employees to stay restless by doing the same things and speaking to the exact same people? A change in routine can be very useful. So, instruct managers to mix and match demographics and departments for experimental skill groups.
Ensure you have plenty of digital comms set up for these groups, with several ‘chats’ to isolate one project from another. Millennials and Gen Zers are three times more likely to use communication tools such as Slack at work. It’s also worth bringing older staff into those comms channels, so they can learn first-hand from young colleagues.
Don’t assume every collaboration should be digital, though. Face-to-face meetings are still in high demand. You should even consider organising a company get-together, in which people can share the same physical space, several times a year.
Don’t – provide minimal feedback
How millennials want to work and live centres strongly on knowing exactly what others think of them. They generally don’t like guessing at their own performance. In fact, they are used to constant reviews from parents, teachers, peers and lecturers.
Although only 15% of millennials in one report said that they strongly ask for feedback, don’t assume that quieter workers appreciate getting by without it. They want it regularly, from as many sources as you can give them.
That’s also true of Gen Z – arguably raised with even more attention paid to thoughts, feelings and honesty. You must add reviews into your management style to satisfy this need. Schedule one-to-ones every month. Consider, perhaps, a quarterly performance review instead of a six-month or year-end comparison. However you choose to deliver it, use data, examples and personal testimony to make it as thorough as you can.
Do – have physical health incentives
Gen Z are becoming known for their aversion to alcohol and unsustainable food. But there’s a broader wellness trend here – 72% of Gen Zers in one study listed anxiety and mental health as their main concern in life. Millennials have similar worries. Their consumer choices speak volumes: activewear, healthy foods and gym memberships have skyrocketed since they came of age.
You can tip the scales back in their favour with corporate exercise days. A fun run, regular yoga class, five-a-side football team or on-site gym can be an incredible draw for younger workers. Equally, swap sugary snacks for fruit and host healthy breakfasts or cooking classes once a week.
More mature workers will appreciate it too. Shockingly, only 8% of UK employees count themselves as ‘actively engaged in their work’. Health and wellness changes can improve their mood very quickly, and make them care more about their contribution to your business.
Don’t – ignore social channels
Engagement can also rely on your brand messaging, and social media plays a huge role in explaining what a company does and showing how it acts in the world.
When we ask how Gen Z will change the workforce, we’re seeing it already. Even the most corporate brands are revising their social media image, sending GIFs, using memes and speaking to followers on a very human level.
New and current employees alike will often turn to your social media for updates from your organisation, and an idea of its values and beliefs. A savvy, light-hearted side to your channels can make them proud to work for you.
What millennials and Gen Z want from work matters. Be receptive to their requirements, and you stand a good chance of attracting and retaining this fresh talent.
Use the Harrison Assessment for a deep analysis of what you want from new hires, as well as the people in your workforce already. It has been developed by maxpotenti’s peers, and we offer it with our other world-renowned consultancy services. Call 0161 4646 156 or message firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and bolster your engagement practices for the next generation.