Millennials recognitionThe “Millennial” generation is being talked about everywhere.  The children of Baby Boomers, these are the young people born between approximately 1980 to 2000.  Why are they so important now, why are we all talking about them?   …because, as I write this, in June of 2015, they are in their late teens to early 30’s, and they are the new generation entering the workforce to begin their careers.  New arrivals always change the dynamic, especially when they show up in huge numbers, and that’s exactly what the Millennials are doing.  As of 2015, the Millennials will surpass the Baby Boom generation as the largest living generation in America, and they will change the workplace in VERY significant ways.

Some things about “young people” are pretty consistent; they have lots of energy, they like their free time, and they’re more comfortable with technology than their older co-workers.  But this Millennial generation has many unique qualities as well, and if you want to attract them as employees, you need to pay attention.  More than past generations, they want to feel like part of a community.  They like to work in teams, they like constant communication with their peers, and constant feedback about how they’re doing.  They crave recognition and positive affirmation that they are needed and wanted as part of your company.  Don’t hold these things against them, after all, their parents raised them to be like this.

So, what does this mean for the workplace?   …It means that you might have some work to do on improving your Company’s Culture.

  • You have to set up a feedback system that keeps young people informed about how they are doing, and recognizes them when they do good work.  Recognition is important!
  • Your managers need to communicate with them on a “genuine” level, and take an interest in their lives and their careers.  They need to feel like you care about them.
  • You need a way for peers to be able to recognize each other, in a meaningful and “official” way.  You want to encourage your younger generation to stay connected with each other, and help each other, like they’re a team.  Peer-to-peer recognition and appreciation has never been more important than it is to this Millennials generation, so they need a way to accomplish this.
  • It’s often joked about, that this younger generation was raised in an environment where they received a trophy “just for showing up!”  This is an exaggeration of course, but not entirely; they are used to having a warm positive light shined on them, and they thrive best in an open and friendly environment.

If you don’t have an official Employee Rewards Program, get one started.  Your managers need this tool, they need a system that encourages positive recognition for all types of “good corporate citizenship.”  Some managers are very good at connecting with their employees, but some are not, and this is too important to leave to each manager individually.  Your company needs an official program, which promotes interconnectedness, positive affirmation, and regular expressions of good will.

Some managers think that Millennials are looking for a raise or promotion every time they do a good deed, but that’s not true.  What they’re looking for is the workplace equivalent of a hug; which is more than simply saying “Thank you,” but it doesn’t have to be expensive or uncomfortable.  You can’t walk around hugging people at work every day, but you can set up a Rewards and Recognition Program, where managers are encouraged to take notice of the small-to-medium positive events that happen every day and every week.  If you don’t know how to do it on your own, there are good cost effective programs that can be set up for you, by companies like  www.EmployeeRewardsPrograms.com   Your younger employees are looking for this type of work environment; and I’ll let you in on a secret…   so are all your other employees as well.