How to Engage and Motivate a Millennial Employee

02/09/2017 09:03 am ET

In an environment that requires a sharp, technical mind, millennials are our greatest asset. By the year 2020, almost half of the workforce will consist of individuals from this generation. Millennials are bright, inquisitive, educated and culturally diverse. However, keeping them in place for very long has proven to be a challenge as they tend to move from job to job on a more regular basis than their predecessors.

The way businesses and management approach this generation requires some careful thought. It’s important to think like a Millennial when trying to motivate them.

Use these tips to increase the number of young employees you retain.

Provide regular encouragement and feedback. This is a group that responds well to reinforcement. They find great value in being noticed and having their efforts recognized. Young adults in the workforce also strive for more leadership positions than ever. When they feel important, Millennials are often more content and stay with companies longer when they see potential growth.

You do not have to provide intricate detail. A simple “thank you for your great work” or “congratulations on the project” will go a long way in keeping them engaged. If they are not performing to your expectations, let them know so they can improve. This kind of open communication is highly valued and will pay big rewards if practiced faithfully.

Offer flexibility and personal time. Work/life balance is a significant hot button for this generation. According to a study by Deloitte, when choosing a job, the number one priority for Millennials is a good work/life balance. Companies that offer flexible schedules have a better chance at procuring Millennial talent.

You can provide this in a variety of ways. One is allowing them to work from home when possible. This may not be possible in all office settings, but for some, the situation may be ideal. Training experience and time off to do something positive in the community is another way to interest your employee. Millennials value growth and this is another opportunity to promote job satisfaction.

Create new titles and in-between steps. If there is one thing that stands out among the Millennial workforce it is this; they are committed to furthering their careers and do not want to wait three or more years for a promotion. This doesn’t mean you should dole out rewards for no reason. Consider smaller incentives such as a bonus for a job well done, or something else that lets them know they’re on the right path.

Perhaps there’s a training course they may be interested in, even if it does not directly relate to the job they are doing now. It will serve as a morale booster and keep motivation high.

Help them connect to the business. One of the mistakes companies make is failing to explain the organization’s vision. Explaining your values will allow them to connect their work to the overall vision of the organization as a whole. Millennials tend to look for ways where they can make a difference, and if they are invested in your vision, it will ignite them to perform at a higher level.

Taking these steps in the beginning and reinforcing them periodically will boost productivity and hopefully produce some new, innovative ideas for your business. You do not have to make huge changes to engage and motivate a Millennial. Just a few minor adjustments can make all the difference.

You may also like How to Manage Bright Employees. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

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