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How to Engage Your Fastest-Growing Employee Group: Millennials

Employee engagement sits near the top of every organization’s HR priority list — regardless of size, age or industry. Yet it’s startling to read that 70 percent {{1}} of U.S. employees are disengaged, and that can cost employers up to $550 billion {{2}} annually. No wonder employee engagement keeps the C-Suite up at night.

Marry those stats for a moment with America’s largest generation — millennials. The generation that marketers and the media are obsessed with (for good reason) are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 {{3}}. There’s a growing percentage of millennials in your organization, do you have a plan to engage them?

Many HR leaders believe an engagement strategy has an impact on business success, but only 25 percent {{4}} have a strategy. Or, maybe you do have a strategy to engage millennials. Maybe you have a plan to recruit, onboard and manage this desired employee group in your recruiting efforts. Does that plan include engaging millennials around interacting with HR?

Here are a few ideas — based on our experience managing more than 40 million employee interactions annually — on how you can deliver an engaging experience for your millennial employees when it comes to HR and payroll information.

1. Know who they are. 

The time has come to communicate with your various employee audiences differently; your audience is changing. To deliver the right programs to millennials, re-think the way you collect, manage and deliver information. And before you deliver the right programs, you need to understand how to best reach your audience. Consider these facts:

  • Ninety percent of millennials use a smartphone daily, and 59 percent of millennials rely on smartphones as the primary device for checking email. {{5}}
  • The ultimate multi-taskers, millennials consume more than 18 hours of media content daily (using multiple screens to do so).
  • They are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of new technology.
  • One in 3 millennials would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility over their paycheck.
  • Millennials are digital natives. They use an average of seven devices and grew up relying primarily on their smartphones to keep them connected and informed.

This is not an employee population who will embrace traditional paper-based communications. They want information when and how they wish to receive it. They want “always-on” instant access to information to fulfill their needs quickly. And they expect personalized, consumer-oriented experiences when online.

2. Rethink the way you communicate with employees – and invest in the technology to help you do it.

Consider how HR interacts with your millennial employees from onboarding and ongoing to offboarding. Is the process easy and intuitive? Is it personalized? Is it accessible online, 24/7? Via mobile or laptop, or office desktop? Is the information optimized for a mobile experience?

Want a quick way to frustrate your millennial employee? They have a need for pay information only to find out they have to wait until regular business hours the next morning. Anytime, anywhere access is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

3. Provide feedback mechanisms for employees to relay information in a consistent manner to Payroll/HR/Benefits teams. 

Millennials look for constant feedback about their work performance, and they expect easy ways to give feedback too. Give them an opportunity to voice their feedback, and let them know that their input is welcomed and respected.

4. Design HR systems and programs to meet the information needs of your changing workforce. 

Millennials expect technology to be a significant part of their work day—after all, the youngest millennials have never known life without the Internet—and that should extend to HR and benefits interactions.

  • Tools should be accessible, informative and efficient
  • Deliver on-demand information allowing employees to get what they need quickly
  • Integrate functionality to streamline the number of required tools
  • Offer flexibility in the way employees access information. For instance, can they customize views when interacting with your HR software?

We’re not suggesting you should completely abandon your company’s established communications methods, but by considering the unique needs of your unique employee populations, you will be better prepared to create the channels, programs and messages that will resonate and engage them. And you’ll be improving your employees’ experience at the same time.



{{1}} Gallup, 2013

{{2}} The Engagement Institute, 2017

{{3}} Governance Studies at Brookings

{{4}} ACCOR

{{5}} Bluecore