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ENGAGE MILLENNIALS WITH PURPOSE
August 6, 2019
Growth opportunities boost satisfaction
If you picture a monkey swinging from vine to vine in a tree, they don’t follow a straight path to the top, but move purposefully from one interesting spot to another seeking new adventures. SVP with the Center for Human Capital Innovation, Anne Loehr, thinks they are on to something that could enrich our work lives and enable organizations to create new paths to employee growth and engagement.
“Millennials especially want to know a lot about a lot,” Loehr explains. “They don’t expect to be in one place for a long time because they want to learn about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. I call them the Renaissance generation.” They have the highest number of post-high school degrees and often have a certificate or advanced degree unrelated to their first area of study.
“Research shows that 58% of Millennials expect to leave their current job within three years,” Loehr says. “The trick for organizations is to figure out how to help them switch jobs without switching companies.”
Engage with purpose
Millennial team members tend to place exceptionally high value on purpose. Managers and organizations that can connect the work a team member is doing to the purpose behind it and its larger impact will tap into those values. “Discretionary engagement is what we’re going for — team members who are really diving in and thinking how to problem solve because they are deeply engaged,” Loehr says.
Creativity can be far more effective than deep organizational pockets in creating such opportunities for employees of all ages. Lateral moves are incredibly important, according to Loehr. That might include spending two weeks shadowing a colleague to learn specific skills or learning more about a certain aspect of the business. Or even providing an employee with some work time to complete a Kahn Academy or Coursera class online.
Tap into existing expertise
“Adults learn most effectively through the 70-20-10 approach,” Loehr says. That means 70% experiential or doing, 20% through other people such as peer-to-peer learning and 10% through formal coursework. “That can often be achieved by simply tapping into the many resources that exist within your organization and the vast array of knowledge and experience employees can share with one another.”
Loehr urges companies to focus less on perks like ping-pong tables and far more on helping team members understand the impact of their work and why it matters, and enabling them to broaden their work experiences and skills.
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