Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Guide your small biz to success with millennial employee engagement #NationalSmallBusinessWeek

performance management blogBy Deb LaMere, VP of Employee Engagement, Ceridian

A fundamental part of human capital management is getting to know your employees and understanding what motivates them to achieve at a high level. The difficulty, however, is when a new generation comes along and changes everything you thought you knew. Every new demographic group of employees is different – their styles of doing work, their attitudes about employment, belief systems and long-term career goals are all starkly unlike those of the generations before them. For precisely this reason, one of the hottest topics in HCM today is that of managing millennials. And as May 1-7 is National Small Business Week throughout the U.S., I thought we’d take a look at how specifically small businesses can keep their millennial people engaged.

I was featured in a Small Business Digest story about this very topic. As an HCM community, we all have to figure out what must be done to engage this large group of employees, born between 1980 and 2000, who are quickly becoming the biggest faction in the modern workforce. Ensuring these people are satisfied, happy and challenged at work is the key to success in the coming era.

So how can we do it?

The value of improved career management
The general consensus about millennials is that they’re all job-hoppers – they’re going to stay in their current positions for a year or two, then move on to the next opportunity. If this is the case, the thinking goes, why bother spending time to engage them?

The reality is that not everyone is itching to leave. More accurately, employees will stay anywhere if they feel their needs are being met and their employer cares about their long-term career development.

This is an area where every employer can improve. Take the time to discuss career goals with each employee, and be transparent about how they can be achieved. This will work wonders for engagement and retention alike.

Motivation through strong incentives
Career development is a long-term thing that motivates employees. If they feel their employer cares about their five-year plan, they’ll be more likely to stay for those full five years. But what motivates millennials to be more engaged over the next five weeks, or days?

The answer to this question may well involve incentives. This doesn’t just mean offering employees cash bonuses for a job well done – an incentive can be any kind of perk including stronger health insurance, a gym membership or the latest smartphone or other gadget. Be creative and find ways to satisfy your millennial employees here and now.

Beware the cost of disengagement
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of engaging millennial employees. Engage them now, and they’ll work hard and help your business profit. That’s all true. But it’s also important to look at this in the converse – there’s a heavy cost to neglecting disengagement.

If you can’t build a strong contingent of loyal, hardworking employees, the pitfalls for your business are numerous. Perhaps most importantly, you will need an entirely new approach to recruiting and staffing, as you’ll be constantly reshuffling your staff to bring in new replacements for outgoing workers.

Steer clear of this vicious cycle. Make a commitment to engaging your millennial employees today, and your organization will be back on the right track to success.

Deb LaMere


Deb LaMere is Vice President of Employee Engagement at Ceridian.

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