These days there seems to be a lot of talk about differences among employees, specifically with reference to different generations. But before you learn how to appeal to workers of a certain age, you need to know who’s in that group. Here are the three main age group categories that make up today’s workforce:
Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (54-72 years old)
Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (38-53 years old)
Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (22-37 years old)
Last week the JCS Career Center hosted a workshop called “How to Attract, Motivate and Retain Millennial Employees.” David Shar, from Shar Seminars explained that employers should have four goals when seeking success with millennials.
Many people speak of achieving work-life balance, but Shar says what millennials are actually looking for is work-life integration. They want to be able to take the work with them, and these days, thanks to cell phones, that’s possible. Millennials might want to go to the beach, yet they’re still willing to answer calls from the boss. They want to have control over their own schedule, so they can work at home if they want, during the hours they want. According to Shar, employees should not be judged on the number of hours they spend at the office, but rather by the quality of the work being completed. Supervisors should try to protect a worker’s social life as much as possible.
Research has shown that new employees who haven’t been in the workforce all that long, don’t tend to stick around for a prolonged period of time. According to thebalancecareers.com, workers age 25 to 34 typically stay in a job a little more than 3 years. Young people get bored, and when they do, Shar says, they leave. The trick is to find something to engage them. For some, it’s having a mentor. For others, it’s opportunities for professional development. Employers might also want to consider allotting time for young staffers to work on their own projects and to meet one on one with managers in the organization.
Shar says the smartest person in the room used to be the one with all the knowledge, but today it’s the one with all the questions. Turns out “the way we’ve always done things”, might not be the best way anymore. Employers need to keep an open mind and put some trust in their young employees. The fresh ideas they can bring to the table might be just what the company needs to move forward.
If people are choosing to work for companies that align with their values, it’s important for employers to know their purpose. The key to connecting with millennials, explains Shar, is to connect the ‘what with the why. While it’s good to keep a close eye on the books, try to refrain from being just about the bottom line.
Other ways to attract and retain millennials are to keep the lines of communication open, work together and allow feedback in both directions. Shar says his advice is not only for millennials, it should be implemented for Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers on your staff as well, because in the end, it all comes down to human nature. Incentivize everyone and everyone wins.
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.