2017: The Year of Employee Engagement

2017: The Year of Employee Engagement

Saddle up, 2017—we’ve got a lot to catch you up on!

First thing’s first: there’s a new Twitter-wielding President in town.

Second on the agenda: We lost too many noteworthy artists and influencers in 2016; so it’s on you to knock that off.

Third: there are these things called “millennials”—yeah, I know, nobody really has a firm grasp on the meaning. But you, my young, doe-eyed 2017, are all about getting this generation engaged and excited, pushing them to their limits!

Are you ready, 2017?

Because millennials are.

But they’ve been the ire of bad publicity for their job hoppiness and perceived disconnectedness from work.

…even after the office installed its fourth swirly slide.

The audacity.

But the nice thing about hindsight is that we can all look back and laugh, and maybe weep a little, at all the resources wasted on ball-pits, nap rooms, and arcade parlors.

Because, in hindsight, we can see where the problems emerged. Like, for instance, how it’s a bit insulting to spend money on frivolous niceties instead of the hired talent.

That’s where YOU come in, 2017!

Millennials WANT Professional Development Opportunities

Can somebody hand me a megaphone? Because a lot of management teams are dragging their feet on this.

Ahem… MILLENNIALS WANT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

Sorry for the yelling.

But it’s so very, very true.

A recent Gallup poll found that 87 percent of millennials, in fact, say development is important in a job. This factored highly into their attitudes toward retention too. And though they are practically yelling from the rooftops for growth opportunities (more so than any previous generation, mind you), most organizations simply aren’t listening.

In their defense, it is tough to hear over the sound of drills fastening bunk beds to walls (a huge liability).

But here’s the thing: the millennial workforce has matured. They simply aren’t quite as interested in “perks” as once believed. Forbes recently examined some Millennial (and Generation Z) workplace expectations and, under “workplace environment”, found that the majority wanted workplace flexibility.

Meaning they didn’t even want to be there all the time to utilize those really cool slides.

This really shouldn’t be shocking news. There are some very strange myths about millennials floating around cyberspace, but Forbes, again, dispels them using Occam’s razor.

In this Forbes article, you won’t find any nonsensical, conjured up perks to attract and retain millennials. The maturing workforce finds value, instead, in employee development and principles on which the organization was built.

In short: ensuring millennial employees are given the tools to excel each day, with potential for leadership nurturing, is a huge win for any management team.

How Should Organizations Increase Millennial Engagement?

Glad you asked, 2017!

In the past five years, there has been growth in employee development, however the oversight is lacking. Depending on the source du jour, professional development occurs informally at a rate somewhere between 70-80%.

The issue arises that the training millennials are receiving is not on track with the organization’s goals, growth, or principles in mind. And without context, millennials—and employees at large—are less likely to find value in any training mechanism.

Employee development starts with the foundations from which the organization was built. Take, for instance, the employee development strategies of Balance Point, a company that “prides itself on providing excellent customer service.”

In understanding this, their team collaborated in sessions to “hone in [their] people skills and… boost camaraderie and overall morale.”

Tailoring professional development to the organization’s foundations allows employees to focus on “the big picture” while strengthening the required skills to meet those goals.

But it simply cannot end there.

Technology to Keep Millennial Engagement Thriving

The near-constant evolution of Human Capital Management systems (HCMs) now emphasizes the employee’s journey as integral to the successes of the organization. Formal training and development opportunities are found in most HCMs, and should be integrated into the employee experience for greater engagement and retention.

The number of organizations implementing formal, streamlined training mechanisms will likely rise throughout 2017. The Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos, courtesy of Yahoo Finance, found that 95 percent of HR leaders admit that employee burnout is negatively impacting the workforce.

To counteract this disastrous figure, organizations will push for more ways to engage and retain talent, particularly millennials, who have raised their collective hand to its importance. It is time for management to heed the call and give them what they truly want.

Professional development may seem like another waste of resources (some organizations say, while on the phone with an espresso machine service technician) but the impact on retention, employee satisfaction, and leadership development will likely pay dividends.

If millennials are asking to be developed, the only logical solution is to give them precisely what they want.

Ok, 2017. Did you get all that?

Now take the ball and run!

And don’t you dare even think about touching a single angelic hair on Betty White’s head.


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