I was giving a presentation about Millennials at a conference earlier this year. We were in a breakout activity discussing how to coach a Millennial employee on a particular topic and were talking about the need to connect the requested task to the overall mission of the organization and value to the customer.
A member of the group asked me, "Why is that specific to Millennials? I want meaning in my work too; I need to know what I do matters." Indeed, we all do! Millennials don't necessarily have different desires than generations before, rather they have less tolerance for work environments not fulfilling those desires.
This diminishing tolerance, along with the ease of online job boards and digital document sharing, leads Millennials to more quickly depart as a result of their disengagement, whereas prior generations were much more likely to stay and hope for change. (Call it a sense of obligation or loyalty, or just how damn difficult it used to be to job hunt!)
Gallup reported last year that "only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, meaning only about three in 10 are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company." (And they reported 31.5% in 2015, and 29.6% in 2014). When you've grown up with literally instant access to information, everywhere and at all times, you are well aware of the entire world of opportunities available, and you have the knowledge and tools to easily pursue them - which leads to less and less tolerance for wasting time in work environments that fail to connect, inspire, and challenge.
There is of course no single tactic we can use to earn Millennial engagement - there are however, multiple tactics that work hand-in-hand to empower them. The good news is, these tactics are known, and within our ability to implement, so long as we're willing to shift our paradigms, restructure certain processes, and make the necessary interpersonal, infrastructure and resource investments.
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