I’m still stuck on the theme of engaging employees. I think it’s because I love my job and I feel uber engaged in my work. I have the ability to be creative on a daily basis, which feeds my soul. I know a lot of younger people who aren’t having the same work experience, particularly in an area like ours where the economy is slow to recover and the “loveable” jobs aren’t available by the handfuls.
Younger people…like Millennials…are also finding themselves bored in jobs much faster than the older generation. Or maybe it’s just that the older generation didn’t complain about being bored, or walking uphill in the snow both ways to get to school every day. Whatever the reason, employers may be finding that younger employees need to feel challenged in their daily work to remain engaged. Once they’ve mastered a task, they’re ready to move on to something else. This can create quite a problem when their job is to perform routine tasks. How do you keep someone whose whole life has been a constant daily influx of digital information since birth? Their very nature is to take in information and adapt. Millennials are ALWAYS looking for the next task, the next project, or the next “thing” to learn, when older generations may be thinking, “You’ve been doing that for like five minutes compared to my fifteen years of experience, what is wrong with you?”
This VERY EXCELLENT video from Inside Quest shows Simon Sinek (famous TED Talks guy) explaining the Millennial better than I can:
So how do you keep these very desirable younger, enthusiastic, wave-of-the-future employees engaged and challenged?
Baby steps, baby. Whatever the larger project, task, or “thing” is, you gotta break it down into smaller sections and then give the Millennial employee each section in early stages of their employment if you want to keep them going. You have to weigh their enthusiasm against the danger of giving them more than they can handle. And you gotta be willing to don your teacher hat; if teaching and mentoring is not for you, Millennials may not be your ideal employee. They crave learning, these youths, and not just from computers (though you may have noticed they are wicked good with them). If you are willing to be their teacher, they will acquire new skills very quickly and be eager for the next thing you can teach them. While this approach requires a GREAT DEAL of engagement on your part, the rewards of having engaged Millennial employees will far exceed the time you put in.