1. Introduce an Onboarding Program Tailored for Millennials
Many companies create onboarding programs for new hires that can run from a few hours to year-long rotational programs. For onboarding programs to be effective, it is important to address the key challenges facing the generational divide. This issue is another element of diversity. In a recent Business Week article, Bhushan Sethi, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. said "We used to have a lot of training about how to manage across cultures, or other elements of diversity. Generational training is an important part of learning about people." The onboarding program should include the direct managers of the new hires and provide situational training specifically related to communication, how to dress, and work-life balance expectations.
2. Engage Employees at the Executive Level
Ok. This one sounds hard. Why would a new hire be allowed to talk to the executives? In this case, employees of all levels should participate in discussions with the senior leadership team. Not having leaders talk at them, but talking with leaders too. comScore leverages their monthly "Grapevine" meeting, where employees can ask any question they want about the business. Another example is IntegrityONE Partners, they have an Executive Roundtable where they engage employees to brainstorm on innovation. There are many ways to create a meaningful dialog between all levels of the organization.
3. Well Defined Mentoring Programs
Millennials are looking for a clear path when it comes to progressing. Companies can create a system that supports new hires by assigning resources to each associate, such as a mentor. Mentors should typically be outside of the mentee's team and even department, so there is no backlash if the associate needs to discuss more serious topics or challenges.
4. Develop the Whole Person
Millennials desire more work-life balance than prior generations. You may remember when Goldman Sachs made the decision to discourage employees from working weekends. Think about how you encourage millennials to have a life outside of work. A happier associate is more productive. Evans Incorporated focuses on developing the entire individual, not just the work-self.
5. Promote Visibility Outside of the Company
Many companies keep their employees close to the vest. They have strict policies around talking externally, or sometimes no policy at all, so the default is do nothing. Employees who are empowered to be thought leaders and share their insights build their own personal brand as well as the brand of their company. Increasing the market value of your own talent also helps them feel more loyal, because you are investing in them by letting them represent the company and grow their brand.
6. Develop Their Brand
If you are not quite ready to send your employees out to represent the company, then invest in your employees to develop their brand and reputation. Leveraging team workshops to clarify their strengths, passions, and how they want to make an impact is a great way to invest and show you care about them as people.
7. Co-Create Their Mission & Purpose
Previously I blogged about Opower; they deliver on this best practice in spades. They sit down with each new hire and they outline what they want to do, their impact, the type of work, work life balance, etc. Then together, the outline what the work is for the employee and how they can make a difference. Check out this purpose video from HBR, where Scott Snook talks about creating a concise purpose statement that motivates you as a leader.
8. Recognition & Empowerment
Leverage recognition to provide visibility and also validation of a job well done. Many companies say they do this, or try, but only a handful really get it right. Recognition should be done at all levels, peer to peer, as well as up and down the reporting structure.
9. Make a Difference in the Community
Millennials in particular have a keen passion around helping in the community. Consider providing community service activities as part of your company culture, and even go farther to say associates can have paid time off to invest in the charity of their choice.
10. Ongoing Learning
Everyone of course wants tuition reimbursement for graduate school, and yes it is definitely worth including in your toolkit. However, there are other ways to support ongoing learning. Have specific conversations with your employees on at least an annual basis of what they want to learn that year or how they want to grow given their purpose and passions. Set aside ongoing funds to help them grow their value and they will invest back in the company too with loyalty.
These are some ideas that can help any company with any employee, but these are particularly relevant to millennials and the new generations coming into the workforce. Both Evans Incorporated and IntegrityONE were winners of the Helios Apollo Awards this year. Learn more about Helios HR.
*Photo from freedigitalphoto.net
Jen Dalton has over 15 years of experience in strategy, marketing and coaching. In 2012, she made a gutsy move and became an entrepreneur, launching her branding business, BrandMirror, and became a certified brand strategist. She enables individuals and companies to define their brand and differentiate themselves in authentic, credible, and relevant ways to their target audience and market. Jen is a Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, helping individuals define their unique brand to achieve career and life success. She has worked with organizations like C-Lever, Capital One, Emerging Women Leaders from Conspire, Georgetown University, Business Chambers, and more.