How To Retain Young Employees And Keep Them Engaged

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How can you create an environment where young employees engage? 

We need to look at this belief or bias that we have about young workers, and how we can get the most from them while creating an environment where they will engage in the work.

Prepare For the Future

By 2028, we are going to need 4.6 million new manufacturing workers. But at our current pace, there will only be 2.2 million people around. 

That is going to create a huge labor shortfall that could put a $2.5 trillion dent in the manufacturing sector. 

The reality is, that to secure your longevity and success as an organization, you are going to have to find out how young employees engage with your work.
The reality is, that to secure your longevity and success as an organization, you are going to have to find out how young employees engage with your work. Share on X

True Or False: Young People Are Lazy Workers

There is a current bias that exists that young employees are lazy and do not want to meet the demands of a job.

You need to think of that as a myth and not a belief that you internalize as a leader. Once you start to believe that to be true, you are going to find that how you treat people will change. As a result, they will not engage in the work that you need. 

More than half of millennials have said they: 

  • Are deeply concerned about progression opportunities in their work. 
  • Want to see elements of growth and success. 
  • Prefer to communicate more electronically than in person. 

That is a natural extension of everyone being on their phones all the time, even when they are in the same proximity with each other. 

Create An Environment That Will Engage a Younger Generation 

So how do we create an environment where young employees engage? Well, I have a few tips for you.

Tip Number One: Make Work Like a Video Game

It seems a bit silly, but if people have grown up playing video games, whether, on their phone or a console, we should think about work as a similar experience to a video game. 

From the time that they first start working in your organization, to the kinds of communications they receive throughout the day, we create these challenges into opportunities to earn badges and special tools. 

How do we give people the sense that they are actually showing progress in their job? 

It is a way of adapting the existing training matrix that we are all familiar with, where you list all the jobs and all the people, and then you check them off as they go along.

You could do that in a way that simulates the kind of feedback that we get from video games. 

Tip Number Two: Help Them Look and Feel Good

Young people are concerned about how they appear to others. You only need to check out Instagram to see that happening in real-time. 

So how do you make them look good? 

It is about not making your team feel stupid or embarrassed. The intention is to help them feel good about being on the team.  You can accomplish this by:

  • Acknowledging their progress by highlighting how they are advancing and mastering different job skills. 
  • Keeping them in the loop. 

These are some of the basic motivational skills that all leaders should practice regardless of who they lead. 

When people have a good emotional experience at work, they are not going to be as quick to quit and go work somewhere else. You will be able to hold onto those people.
When people have a good emotional experience at work, they are not going to be as quick to quit and go work somewhere else. You will be able to hold onto those people. Share on X

Tip Number Three: Be Positive

Many younger workers are not going to put up with the kind of negativity that you may have put up with as you came along in your organization. 

So how do you create this positive environment where people feel good about themselves and the work that is being done in your location? 

You can create a positive culture in your department. Even if the broader culture maybe is less positive. 

Continue to Evolve Your Leadership Skills

Once you have worked on those three tips to engage younger workers, you might decide you want to work on some of your other leadership skills. 

We have a tremendous program called Front Line Leadership, and it is a program that can build your skills or the skills of the leaders in your organization. 

To learn more, you can visit our website at uniquedevelopment.com.

From there, you will be able to see all the topics that we cover and some of the special features in our program that make it so successful. 

We look forward to having a conversation with you about how we can create leadership excellence in your organization.