Maximizing Millennial engagement

Statistically the Millennial/Gen Y’s are the most diverse and the most socially aware generation yet.  If you sell a product or employee more than a few people, you need to have a strategy on how to communicate and engage this growing population.  Doing this correctly will amplify your message, value and ability to generate revenue significantly.

In 2014, 36% of the workforce was comprised of Millennial’s (born 1976-2001) and by 2020 46% of the workforce will be.  A majority of these 80 million adults are in the workforce today.  Of them 64% are reported to ask about social policies of a company during interviews and 24% indicate it as a key factor when accepting a job.

Businesses who adapt messaging, management practices and policy the earliest may win the loyalty of this critical group.  Loyalty translates into engagement and retention, and is a great motivator.  In my personal experience, this is the most savvy and hardest working generation that I have managed.  In my 25 years of management I have managed boomers, Gen X, Y /Millenials and each clearly have different values and goals.  Building a program around a workforce’s values and goals so they feel as though they are contributing may be the best motivator.  Read a case study

Synergy seldom happens through “old school” management. 

The common denominator for attracting this group as followers is through the corporate leadership strategy.  One thing needed is that a Millenial generally needs to feel comfortable that a company is adding to society in some way.  This is vital for recruiting and this workforce may be the most productive group to date, so some companies need to rethink the benefits they offer.  The Benefits program is where the money comes from for many companies that offer the types of programs that attract this workforce.  The trend to decrease company match in 401K’s by a point or two, decreasing vacation or sick days, even eliminating cafeterias in the building frees up finances to point towards newer benefits that are more valuable to this generations.  Benefits exist to attract workforce, they(benefits)are an added value to working for a particular company.

How to attract or engage this group? – Learn from Disney

Walt Disney was not exactly known for taking care of his employee’s.  Early strikes from artists nearly shut down his studio.  Yet, he taught us the key to managing the millennial population…….

In the mid to late 1980’s the restaurant industry saw how important it was to not only serve food quickly to their guests but they realized the value of creating an “experience” for there patrons.  Theme restaurants boomed and dominated the industry.  This started with Ground Round and TGI Frdays but was perfected by Applebee’s.  Applebee’s International grew to over 1400 restaurants worldwide in record time and they did it by creating an “experience” the diner was comfortable with.  When the kids say “lets go to Applebee’s”, parents generally didn’t argue.  This was all inspired by the “experience” the guest received when going to a Disney theme park.  Roy Disney understood the importance of creating an escape and what a lasting impression it made.  If you focus efforts on executing the “experience”, loyalty will follow.

After Lloyd Hill popularized the “customer experience” motif with Applebee’s, the Healthcare industry was next.  To this day most hospitals place a great emphasis on the “Patient Experience”.  There have been departments created around tracking it with surveys, hour upon hour of staff training, and the bed side visit has been completely re-scripted, and it has all worked!  Studies show that hospitals that create the best overall “experience” for the patient have less open beds than those that don’t and they have a greater number of Outpatient procedures booked while also enjoying a much lower cancellation rate.  When the healthcare industry shifted it focus to the “experience” of their guests, it increased loyalty.

Many businesses need to start focusing on what I call the “Employee experience”  and go to lengths to include it as part of the culture.  Millenials grew up knowing this environment as the norm.  Everywhere they went someone was competing for them to have the best experience, so why should work be any different?  Focusing your company on the “employee experience” will increase engagement, productivity and satisfaction and isn’t that what you want?  One of the Core Values of Applebee’s was “Fun”.  That’s not only cool, I guarantee it works by building employee loyalty.

Whether you are looking to recruit or promote sales; here are                          5 tips to engage this group and start creating a successful         “Experience”
  1. Speak to a flexible workplace, environment and culture
  2. Demonstrate dedication to career growth through support, feedback and goal setting
  3. Boast a culture of collaboration
  4. Design opportunities to contribute to society both as individuals and as a corporate structure
  5. Competitive Compensation structure

 

Bonus – #3 is worth repeating, it is that important – Promote a climate of leadership and development, this group doesn’t respond well to being managed and micromanaged.

In my experience Millenial/Gen Y’s are attracted to a company for what I mentioned in the first part of this blog, and choose to leave because of one or more of the bottom 5 points.  Incorporate those points into your culture, manage this group by results and mentor them so they succeed and you will be as amazed as I at how this will help your company build loyalty and generate the revenue you were hoping for.

 

Carpe diem!

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