Elise Gould & Kirsten Kraklio, LaneTerralever
How a Simple Shift Created Happier and More Engaged Millennial Employees
Millennials. They’re the largest generation currently in the workforce — 75 million strong — and if you have them on your team, you probably realize they’re different workers from the past generations.
So, how can your company empower and retain top millennial talent? We looked at some common problems millennials experience with traditional workplace setup and how one mid-size agency has implemented changes, including a process called AgencyAgile, to help solve those problems.
Problem: Management style is not effective with millennials.
Solution: Make discipline leads coaches, not bosses.
Why it matters: A coach in this endeavor is someone who assists in removing blocks, provides access to resources, and advocates for an employee, not someone who barks orders or micromanages. Traditional bosses can be demotivating to millennial staff.
Millennial take: “My boss doesn’t feel like a boss; she feels like someone who is there to get the best out of me and drive my career path the way I want it to go.” - Andy Arias, Operations Specialist, 25
Problem: High turnover rate of millennial employees.
Solution: Offer growth in breadth of knowledge.
Why it matters: While millennials can get a bad rap for jumping around jobs and what seems like a short attention span, they have quite the thirst for knowledge and self-improvement. This is where true collaboration happens, where the good of the team depends on all cylinders firing. When people feel they’re in a constant state of maximizing their own potential, they tend to be extremely engaged in their jobs.
Millennial take: “I’ve been a part of LaneTerralever for four years and having Agile has allowed me to grow and evolve the role I play in the company. My friends in the industry have moved around and are constantly trying to find the right fit. Our work environment allows a lot of different types of people to work together and feel like they belong. It has shown me what it takes to be a part of each department and I have a better understanding of how we can all work together to be successful.” - Lexy Bahn, Social Media Manager, 26
Problem: Millennials are turned off by information silos.
Solution: Have all team members involved when planning work.
Why it matters: Millennials have been long touted as ushering in the sharing economy, and there is no reason that an employer can’t use the same principles that attracted this generation to Airbnb, Lyft, and bike shares to take full advantage of increased perceived value from shared business resources.
Millennial take: “From an account services side, delivery team members tell me what needs to happen to complete a project, so it’s almost like delivery team members are assigning themselves work. This keeps everyone on the same page and informed about the entire lifecycle of the deliverable.” - Shannon Ring, Account Manager, 27
Problem: Millennials crave constant feedback.
Solution: Implement more frequent performance reviews and retrospectives.
Why it matters: What gets measured gets improved. Employers can use millennials’ craving for feedback to their advantage for the company as well as clients and customers. Having shorter and more impactful reviews related to work improvement will fulfill your millennial staff’s wants and benefit your clients.
Millennial take: “More frequent reviews allow me to identify and set milestones in an effort to achieve my professional goals.” - Matthew Martinez, SEO Specialist, 25
As millennials will tell you, it’s not so much about the brands they work on or the titles and prestige. It’s about creating and finding meaning in the work they spend their valued time doing. By building a model around coaches, training, collaboration and feedback, big improvements can follow, and your company can leverage the power of this incredible generation.
About the authors:
Elise Gould is Senior Director of Content Marketing at Phoenix-based full-service marketing and consulting LaneTerralever, where she leads a multidisciplinary team with deep expertise in email marketing, marketing automation, search engine optimization, social media marketing and content marketing strategy. When not at the office, she can be found chasing her children or honing her obstacle course racing prowess.
Kirsten Kraklio is a Content Marketing Specialist at LaneTerralever, where she works on social media strategy, writes long-form content, copy edits, and manages freelance writers. She is also a proud millennial (most of the time).