Staring at the clock, begging it to say 5 p.m., and all the while dreaming about Friday. Does this sound like your staff? There's a good chance that it does. 

A mere one-third of employees told Gallup in 2017 that they felt engaged with their work. This stat is a problem for employers everywhere, but especially for those trying to cultivate a millennial workforce.

In short, today's young workers want more than the generations that came before them. Millennials are smart and versed in technology. They want a challenge, and they want recognition for what they accomplish.


Employers can make a point to help in all of these areas, especially the latter. Here's why millennial engagement by way of recognition is vital to your staff: 

Millennials Want to Work Toward Something

Millennial employees don't come to the office just to earn a paycheck. Instead, this age group thrives when they know their effort works toward a greater good. 

A whopping 93% of workers seek a career path that matches their values. And, once they know the purpose of what they're doing, they tend to push harder and produce more. 

With that in mind, it's easy to see why these employees value recognition at work, too. Younger staffers want to know that what they're doing is correct. They also like to feel as though they've served the business in some way — recognizing their efforts tells them that they have. 

Ultimately, millennials who work toward this recognition will do more in their roles. Companies that have the right engagement formula see two to three times the productivity. In other words, it's mutually beneficial to engage and reward staffers.

Recognition Builds Trust

Trust lays a strong foundation for any relationship to grow and thrive. Workplace bonds are no different — employees want a trusting bond with those in leadership roles. 

As it turns out, building trust between colleagues doesn't have to be a complicated process. Forbes notes that such confidence can grow through mutual appreciation alone. 

Clearly, a "thank you" goes a long way in the workplace. Millennial employees who see their work recognized will feel a closer bond to their higher-ups.

A trusting relationship is a lasting one. So, forge a good relationship with millennials via recognition to ensure the bond lasts as long as possible. 

Millennials Hope to Climb the Ladder

To understand the millennial drive, you have to step into their shoes.

Forty-five percent of them carry student loan debt. At the same time, millennials hope to break into the property market or start families. To do so, they need great jobs — and that's what they continue to work toward. 

So, if millennials don't see a chance to climb the ladder with your company, then they will jump ship. Many millennials swap jobs every one or two years. That way, they can have better titles and salaries to get them where they want to be.

You might be wondering, "What does this have to do with millennial engagement?" Indeed, if these employees value better job titles and income, they'll go for it regardless. 

However, recognition can be the deciding factor in what keeps millennial employees on board. This spotlight not only keeps staffers motivated, but it can convince them to stay the course, too.

Waiting a bit longer for a promotion within a company that values their work? As it turns out, plenty of millennials will do just that. 

Holding onto employees boosts your company's bottom line, too. High turnover rates mean you're spending time and money on recruiting and training millennials. Instead, focus on recognizing the employees you have to keep them around longer. 

So, when staff members stick around, be sure to recognize them for that as well. Year-of-service awards do the job well. Just make sure you hand over a small token of appreciation at the end of each year, rather than waiting for a milestone anniversary. 

Millennial Engagement Thrives on Feedback

A one-on-one relationship with your millennial staffers can make a huge difference in their job satisfaction. Significant moments of recognition inspire them, but so do quick feedback sessions peppered with praise. 

Of course, employee feedback should always be constructive. You don't want to shower your millennial staffers in compliments just for the sake of it. But highlighting what they do well will inspire them to continue. 

In an SHRM survey, only half of millennials and Gen Z'ers said that their bosses recognized hard work. The same piece gave a quick solution to this problem —progress reports through regular feedback sessions. 

Something as casual as a quarterly feedback session can provide the recognition that so many employees seem to lack. SHRM notes that feedback reminds millennials that what they do is valuable. It's also motivating — they want to work harder when they know someone notices. 

Millennials Will Be Happier at Home Too

Finally, an employee who's regularly recognized will be happier at work. They will feel valued and pleased with what they do. And, when they check out of the office each evening, they'll go home happy. 

This last factor proves vital for millennial employees. They want to be content in both work and their personal lives. This age group, in particular, works hard to strike a balance between both. 

In fact, millennials define success as a stable work-life balance. Knowing they're simultaneously able to work hard and live well is a major goal for this age group. 

So, recognizing staffers can make them feel complete and content in all areas of life. To millennials, there's nothing more important than that. 

Recognize Millennials and Win

Understanding younger employees isn't as tough as it may seem. To build a hard-working staff, it all starts with millennial engagement. And, as you've now learned, you can keep staffers motivated with regular recognition. 

So, set up a plan today to get your team engaged and encouraged. CA Short's Certified Recognition Professionals can help you reward your team in the right way. Contact Us to get started!

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