Millennials (those people born between 1980 and 1996), now represent about 38 percent of the U.S. workforce, and by 2025, that number will likely soar to 75 percent. It’s troubling then to find that only 29 percent of millennials are engaged in their positions, according to Gallup research. The Gallup report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, contains findings from 30 different studies of more than 1 million millennial respondents and reveals that 71 percent of millennials are either not engaged or actively disengaged meaning that battling millennial disengagement is a crisis issue.

This should be troubling for leaders, as disengagement leads to higher turnover, reduced productivity and lower quality work. A lack of engagement leads to more turnover, and 60 percent of millennials admit that they are open to leaving their current company for another, and only 50 percent plan to be in the same company in one year. These findings are important because businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement enjoy 70 percent fewer safety incidents, 41 percent less absenteeism, 17 percent more productivity and are 21 percent more profitable compared to those in the bottom quartile.

So what can businesses do?

Is it inevitable that millennial employees will remain disengaged and disloyal to their companies? Fortunately, there are behavior-based team building strategies that leaders can implement to improve millennial engagement and company loyalty.

Behavior-based team building strategies to improve millennial engagement

Set clear work priorities.

Knowing what your millennial employees want out of their work is a great place to start.  Millennials want to know what you expect of them. No matter the generation of worker, it’s stressful for employees when they don’t have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them at work. Gallup finds that when employees strongly agree that their managers help them to set performance goals, the vast majority of these employees are engaged in their positions. Not only do employees need to know big picture goals, but they also require a clear understanding of task priorities. Currently, only 54 percent of millennial employees feel that they know how to adequately prioritize their work responsibilities. To help with engagement, leaders must coach millennials one-on-one to set clear big-picture goals, as well as prioritize smaller, daily tasks.

Check in.

Millennials are definitely not the “set it and forget it” type. They thrive when they have a clear understanding of their roles and when they feel that their managers are supportive of their endeavors. Managers who regularly meet with their millennial employees in a quick daily check-in go a long way in fostering millennials’ loyalty to their companies. Managers can also encourage loyalty by ensuring that millennials’ goals align with the company’s overall vision and purpose. Millennials work better when they feel that they are working toward a greater purpose, so make sure they feel valued by and connected to the company’s bigger picture.

Be open to frank, genuine discussions.

As a manager, you may falsely believe that your feedback to your employees is all that matters. Managers also need to be open to receiving feedback from their employees. For the most part, millennials want to stay with companies. They do need to feel that are receiving ongoing development, however, and feel comfortable enough to share genuine opinions through open communication with leaders. Not only do millennials desire feedback for their performances, but they also thrive when they are able to ask for and receive what they need to be successful. In this way, both parties will build relationships with one another and be more invested in company outcomes and success. Ensure that your team members feel comfortable enough to approach you with any concerns.

Millennials are a large part of the current workforce. They are expected to grow to 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Unfortunately, 71 percent of millennials are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their positions, which leads to lower productivity, lower quality work and job hopping. Engaged employees are more likely to be loyal to their companies,. Businesses with high engagement levels enjoy higher profits and productivity, as well as fewer safety incidents and less absenteeism. With this in mind, there are some team building strategies that leaders can implement to improve engagement with millennials: setting clear work goals and priorities; checking in with millennials on a daily or weekly basis; and being open to open dialogue and frank discussions. With these strategies, leaders can improve employee engagement among millennial employees and reap less turnover and more productivity.

Interested in taking the conversation deeper?

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Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

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About TIGERS Success Series

TIGERS Success Series is a team development consultancy based on 6 corebehavior principles that anchor high performance team dynamics. These principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. TIGERS offers licensing and certification to team building trainers and consultants interested in expanding their practice to serve organizational leaders from the break room to the boardroom. Learn more.