The 3 Keys to Keep Millennials Engaged at Work
What’s more powerful than the passion and hard work of an intrinsically motivated employee? They’re going to be the ones who will go the extra mile for you and are highly invested in the company’s overall long-term success, rather than solely their own personal achievements. These are the employees who will be logging more hours and pushing themselves to think more critically, creatively and proactively to elevate the company to the next level and to support their coworkers. You won’t need to hover around behind their desk or randomly pop-in to check if they’re on Netflix while at work because you’ll simply know that they’re spending every moment as efficiently as possible.
How do you find these amazing employees, among a sea of millennial college graduates? It’s an ongoing process that has to do with just the right combination of culture, management and mutual respect. In my one year’s experience as an entry-level millennial hire, the following three factors have been the most important to me in motivating and engaging me in the company’s wellbeing and long-term success. These are the things that inspired me to genuinely care about the work I was doing.
1. A Good Cause
It was the reason that I joined the company in the first place. We help recent grads find jobs, and having recently gone through the painful process myself, I knew that the company’s mission was to solve a real and present need with a large segment of the population. That alone got me on board, and remains a huge part of my daily motivation to push for FirstJob’s success. Our product truly helps young people connect with jobs and careers, and that’s rewarding in and of itself. However, I will warn you that a good cause alone isn’t enough to retain or inspire the level of dedication you want from your employees.
2. Mentor Managers
As a one-time entry-level hire, I know that young people oftentimes don’t know the difference between work and good work. However, a manager who can also be a mentor is invaluable to training this smart millennial to value good work over simply work for work’s sake. We’re all eager to learn, and have the potential to grow into something great, but entry level job seekers do need a bit of direction and guidance to make sure we advance in the right way. Otherwise, we may feel as if we’re floating around aimlessly without guidance and that state can be demotivating and dangerous. A manager/mentor who can deliver critical feedback at the right time in the right fashion is invaluable.
3. A Culture of Respect
Hopefully this isn’t shocking to you, but a culture of genuine respect for your coworkers can go a long way. Respecting those you work with and those who work under you is vital in getting those same people to respect you back. With that mutual respect comes genuine engagement and care for the work that your team performs and what they produce. In my experience, the respect has to originate from those in management and higher up positions for it to truly permeate a company’s culture. In the cases when that isn’t true, it can be hard to maintain a respectful culture when managers are not on the same wavelength. You want to avoid this at all costs as this sort of situation can deteriorate into a toxic company culture where nobody is invested in anything but their own gain.
These are the things I noticed from my one and half years of working as a recent graduate and entry level hire that I appreciated the most about my workplace. Believing in the company’s mission, having a good mentor, and observing and participating in a culture of respect with my team really served to motivate me to do my best. While everybody is different, I would hazard a guess to say that if your company provided the aforementioned environment, you’d find more millennials interested in open positions, as well as happier and more dedicated employees.
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Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.