SMART Objectives for the New Generation: Keeping Millennials Engaged at Work (Infographic)

by | Nov 25, 2016 | Practical Guidance

By 2025, Millennials will make up around 75% of the global workforce. It would be easy — and wrong — to assume they’re just like the generations that came before them. In reality, Millennials are more likely to job-hop and prefer a collaborative work culture over a competitive one. For businesses to accommodate this group, it’s necessary to understand their needs, wants and desires.

So how do you keep Millennials engaged at work? Take a look at our infographic and see how your business could benefit from making a few Millennial-friendly changes:

An infographic on the importance of SMART Objectives and Regular Feedback to motivate millennials at work

There is some debate about what constitutes a “Millennial”, but it’s generally agreed that those aged 18 to 34 come under the umbrella term. You might have also heard the term “Generation Y”, which refers to the same age group. Whatever you call them, they’re about to monopolise the workplace.

What Motivates Millennials at Work?

Millennials are more likely to value time over money, with 88% wanting work-life integration. This isn’t the same as a work-life balance — they want to value their time at work and not feel like they’re living for the weekend. Your company should be setting development objectives that focus on personal as well as professional enhancement.

As a group, they also tend to value social responsibility. 64% of Millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place. By showing you care about issues other than profit, you’ll be more likely to attract and keep Millennials. This new generation grew up with the internet, so your corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts should include social media and online crowdfunding.

The Importance of SMART Objectives and Regular Feedback

Having grown up with the instant responses of social media and messenger apps, Millennials appreciate regular feedback. With your younger employees, frequent and informal feedback is what they value most highly. However, there is still an important place for SMART objectives and development objectives. Setting goals that are measurable and realistic satisfies the feedback loop that Millennials have come to value.

If appraisal time is looming and you’re dreading it, consider replacing annual appraisals with shorter, more regular “check-in” meetings throughout the year. Download our free one-to-one meeting template which you can use to help structure your check-ins.  

What Your Business can do to Attract and Keep Millennials

Our bodies have built-in biological rhythms that change as we get older. For those under 55, starting work at 9am can be damaging to the mind and body. Shift the start time of your business’s working day to 10am and you could see a huge productivity boost from the Millennials on your payroll.

You might also consider more amorphous working conditions, such as flexible hours and remote working. 81% of Millennials think they should be allowed to decide their own hours, and with the internet allowing for more work to get done remotely than ever before, it seems unreasonable to deny them this opportunity. As long as they get the work done — which you can monitor using SMART objectives and regular feedback sessions — you’ve got nothing to lose.

Another aspect of the workplace that is changing — partly because of the influence of Millennials — is the traditional dress code. 79% of Millennials think that they should be allowed to wear jeans to work, highlighting a seismic shift in attitude. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says he wears the same casual outfit every day to ensure that he can “dedicate all of [his] energy towards just building the best products and services”.

Many of the things that shaped the workplace are being challenged by modern science and changing attitudes. If you want to attract and keep Millennials, don’t let tradition shape your workplace.

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