The following is a guest post from Dan Negroni, author of Chasing Relevance: Understand, Engage and Maximize Your Millennial Workforce.
Millennials. Like it or not, they will make up most of your workforce in the next ten years. This portends a big problem for countless companies: a huge disconnect between millennials and boomers/Gen Xers in the workforce.
We send emails; they send snaps. We put our heads to work and do what we’re told; they opt to work remotely and creatively. The differences aren’t small; they are costing companies billions of dollars. 60% of millennials will leave their jobs in less than three years. Companies must address and understand this disconnect so they can disrupt outdated working models and adapt to the new way. Here are three ways to connect with millennials so you can disrupt your old model and write the future!
1. Lead with unwavering transparency
Millennials wear their hearts on their sleeves. They tweet their opinions, Instagram their feelings and write Facebook statuses about who they will vote for and what causes they believe in. Technology has disrupted the way we communicate and has given millennials a voice 24/7. Your company must be transparent with what your mission is. Your why should be everywhere: in your office, on your website, on your Facebook page, etc.
60 % of millennials say ‘a sense of purpose’ is why they choose to work for their current employer, according to a Deloitte survey. If your company isn’t authentic and transparent on all fronts (social media, in person, online), this is hurting you. Be upfront about what your company stands for so you can actively connect and communicate with your millennials.
2. Establish a relationship and provide feedback regularly
Millennials grew up with technology enabling them to get feedback and responses at the snap of a tweet. They don’t just want feedback—they expect it. However, they’re scared to ask for it. A poll by Gallup revealed that only 19% of millennials routinely receive feedback and only 15% of millennials routinely ask for feedback.
A huge reason for this disconnect is due to a lack of connection in the first place. You must be present and start the conversation. Make yourself approachable. Text them, Snapchat them, or Facetime them. Act in a way that’s relevant, which lets them know you care about them. This will strengthen your relationship and allow you to connect better.
3. Ask more questions
Both of yourself and of your team!
- Does your management team have an open door policy?
- Are you always available to help guide and lead?
- Do you ask for feedback about how you’re doing and can improve as a leader?
By regularly asking questions, you keep yourself accountable, committed and prepared for possible changes in the workplace. In order to address issues and prevent disconnection, you must first become aware of your own blind spots and weaknesses. Ask!
By asking questions and inviting your millennials to provide feedback you create a two way street. You empower them to ask questions too. You become more approachable. Exhibiting humility and vulnerability by acknowledging that you don’t know everything, makes you appear less intimidating and friendlier. Asking great questions leads to getting great answers. It creates win-win situations and opens the way for new ideas and innovation to move forward.
The root of all disconnection stems from communication—or a lack thereof. You must adapt to disruptive technology and be transparent with your mission in person, online and via social media. Get to know your millennials and give them feedback on a regular basis. Ask them questions and communicate often via texting and even just popping your head in the office. This is how we can connect with our millennials, bridge the generational gap and become disruptive companies that create real impact!
Dan Negroni is the author of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.