The Changing Face of Employee Engagement
The shift in demographics to a Millennial-dominated workforce has been a frequent topic of conversation in the business world over the last few years. Common perceptions of employer and employee business relationships have been overturned and replaced by new practices. I’ve seen many businesses that have successfully adapted to the new workforce, adjusting their benefits and corporate structures to align to new values and expectations. On the flip side, I’ve also seen many businesses that have done a poor job in keeping up with employee workforce trends.
After more than a decade at TempWorks Software, a premier staffing software provider, I’ve worked with staffing companies of all sizes and locations across the U.S. Working directly with staffing agencies as they constantly interact with a temporary employee workforce has given me a unique perspective on the changing landscape of today’s workforce.
Here are some simple business practices I’d recommend for companies to successfully adapt to today’s shifts in workforce dynamics:
- Step 1: Build trust. I believe it is crucial for managers to develop a trust-based relationship with their Millennial employees. Employees must earn that trust by meeting deadlines, completing assigned projects, and being accountable to their job responsibilities. If an employee has put in the time to effectively create trust, then the topic of flexibility regarding work schedule may be discussed as an option.
- Step 2: Offer flexibility. Expecting employees to work a 9-to-5 schedule and be in the office five days a week is no longer the norm. If the responsibilities of the position allow for it, you should be open to negotiating more flexible schedules. In my experience, this enables employees to create a work-life balance that works best for their individual lifestyles and ultimately leads to higher job satisfaction.
- Step 3: Be a coach instead of a manager. It’s time to retire the yearly review and hierarchical business structure. While I still conduct yearly reviews as part of annual performance evaluations, review meetings between managers and their direct reports must occur more frequently. Millennials crave direct feedback to create an atmosphere of teamwork. While we as managers need to maintain a level of authority and respect, our goal should be to develop a coaching approach to encourage engagement. It is crucial for Millennials to feel valued for their hard work, and it might make the difference when it comes to whether they start looking for a new job or stay in their current position.
- Step 4: Present new challenges. New breakthroughs in technology occur every single day. It’s no surprise then that Millennials, who have grown up with the latest tech gadget at their fingertips, get bored with performing the same job responsibilities every day. While a promotion or a raise might have been an effective Band-Aid, Millennials might prefer a new opportunity that lets them develop new skills. If you can diversify employee roles or implement an efficient system to laterally move employees between groups within the company, it will help keep Millennials more engaged and invested in their jobs.
These are just a few practices I think might help your company adjust to the new dynamics in the workforce. Businesses will not only experience a shift due to the Millennial demographic, the business world also must be prepared for the Gen Z demographic to become a part of the equation. By implementing small changes now, businesses will already have a process in place to adapt to additional changes in the future.
Casey Kraus was named president of TempWorks Software (www.TempWorks.com) in 2018. In his previous role as executive vice president, Kraus successfully implemented strategies to boost sales and deliver a superior client experience for the hundreds of staffing agencies that rely on TempWorks for their technology solution. Since Kraus joined the company in 2007, his astute direction for the account and client relationship management process and significant improvements to the sales and revenue pipeline have helped TempWorks achieve record growth. Based in Eagan, MN, independently owned TempWorks Software has been a leading provider of staffing software solutions for more than 20 years. With an emphasis on exemplary client service, TempWorks delivers innovative and cutting-edge technology to hundreds of temporary staffing agencies across the nation.