I’m not talking about nuptials. (Millennials are actually less likely to show interest in marriage than older generations.)
As the resident Millennial on the Network for Good partnerships team, I’m here to tell you that, to my generation, engagement means being appreciated for our work, feeling we are contributing to the greater good, and having opportunities to give back our time and energy through volunteering.
Photo Credit: Allison McGuire (NFG)
Millennials are ambitious, tech-savvy, team-oriented, and creative. Look no further than Mashable’s 26-year-old founder and CEO, Pete Cashmore (or Mark Zuckerberg or Lena Dunham, or….). To recruit, foster, and retain Gen Y: acknowledge and appreciate our work; ensure your company’s values are intact and deeply embedded within your overall strategy; and have myriad volunteer opportunities for all employees.
Engaged Millennials will enhance your bottom line. A Gallup study found that companies with high employee engagement programs and activities see a 16% increase in profitability over those that don’t.
1) Engaging Workplace
Ted Coine, a business leader and social media leader, believes “culture trumps strategy.” While I won’t wade into that debate, I will posit that culture matters. A lot. The values and principles of an organization are of paramount importance to Millennials.
We Millennials need to feel we’re part of a team, and that we are continually recognized for a job well done. We’re not just about praise, though. Constructive criticism always has a place in the Millennial mind. If we feel appreciated, engaged, and heard, we feel our value and become more productive, happier, and stimulated.
2) Purposeful work
Net Impact recently did an incredible study, surveying Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer employees. They found that employees who felt they had “impact” jobs were more satisfied at work. In fact, they were two times more satisfied!
Though I have always been driven to work in fields that are meaningful to me (human and civil rights, peace and security, corporate social responsibility), I am friends with many Millennials whom I never thought cared about contributing to the greater good. Surprisingly, in the past couple of years, I’ve had the same conversation with an astounding number of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances alike. Each person has either relayed their enthusiasm for having cause incorporated in their work, or expressed dismay with the feeling that the company has no values other than making money.
One friend told me, “At the end of the day, [my work] doesn’t mean anything. I want to do something that’s meaningful.”
3) Volunteer Programs
All employees, especially Millennials, benefit greatly from volunteer programs. Millennials are community-oriented, which means we like team-building in many forms. These programs are especially impactful when the charity or cause matches with the company’s mission, and when employees feel that, with company support, they are making a difference they couldn’t make on their own.
Volunteer programs are beneficial for companies, too! Millennials develop a sense of pride and loyalty when participating in these activities, and gain critical thinking skills. Volunteering is a simple act, and a cost-effective one at that, which pays high returns.
Remember these killer facts:
- Millennials gain satisfaction from being engaged and having purposeful work.
- Satisfaction makes employees two times more satisfied in their jobs.
- High satisfaction numbers increases retention.
- Companies with employee engagement programs see 16% more profitability than those that don’t.
- Volunteering gives Millennials a sense of community, increases team-building skills.