Are you isolating your millennial workforce?

In any given workplace, there are likely three distinct generations working side by side. A fifty-year gap between the youngest and oldest associates is not uncommon, and many companies are struggling to adapt their diverse environment to the needs of the newest generation. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to bridge this gap.

In Part 2 of our Millennial Series, we’ll focus on opportunities in the workplace to engage all of your employees, including millennials. During the next three years, millennials will represent 50 percent of your workforce. They need to be constantly engaged at work without feeling overwhelmed.

While millennials are often cited as the “least engaged generation,” many surveys suggest that engagement is a cross-generational problem. Earlier this year, Gallup released results from its poll, putting employee engagement in the U.S. at a startling 32 percent.

Gamification
Gamification uses game mechanics to encourage participation in non-game applications. You may remember it as a buzzword from the early 2000s, but many companies are still searching for the best way to incorporate our natural love of competition into the workplace. Gamification works to solve the problem of employee engagement by providing your employees with a sense of prestige for an increased level of understanding and productivity. While gamification is a great onboarding and training tool, it can also be used to track long-term goals within the workplace.

But does gamification actually increase engagement and overall productivity? Bunchball, a software company that specializes in providing gamification solutions, states that its services have motivated over 125 million users to complete more than 20 billion actions on behalf of hundreds of customers. Bunchball also has several success stories on its website from companies including T-Mobile, Ford and Adobe.

Social (media) learning
While the theory of social learning isn’t new, it does have a whole new meaning with the proliferation of social media. Millennials are digital natives and a driver of broader acceptance of social media in the workplace. This was once a problem to be dealt with for those looking to hire a generation that is constantly priming their online personas; now it’s seen as an opportunity.

In 2013, Microsoft conducted a study where 37 percent of participants reported that they could do their jobs better if social tools were part of their workplace. The basic function of social media is to make connections. When companies embrace social media tools, employees can conduct better research and stay connected with their fellow associates. Fostering this sense of community also leads to idea sharing, which ultimately increases productivity.

Mobile
Millennials have a well-documented love affair with their devices. Mitek and Zogby Analytics reports that 90 percent of millennials in the U.S. are always within arm’s reach of their phones. Mobile devices are good for more than texting — they allow us to actually be mobile while remaining connected. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 75 percent of millennials would like to have the opportunity to work remotely and think it will help them be more productive.

Just as social media can be a great onboarding and training tool, mobile allows workforce learners convenience and flexibility. Embracing mobile also means employees can have access to data even when they don’t have internet access.

Allowing employees to work anytime and anywhere has positive effects on engagement and productivity. A study conducted by the Economist Intelligent Unit showed a 16 percent increase in productivity and a 23 percent increase in satisfaction when employees felt their organizations embraced the use of mobile technology.

Millennials may be the driver of social media and mobile technology in the workplace, but they are not the only ones who stand to benefit. Increasing employee engagement starts with integrating the technology people use every day into the workplace. Leveraging that technology will keep your employees connected to one another and allow for more comprehensive collaboration you could check here. By embracing millennials’ love of digital, you and all of your employees can reap the rewards.

About Keesia Wirt

Keesia Wirt, content strategist at Two Rivers Marketing, is a self-proclaimed content nerd. With a background in newspaper and magazine journalism, she now helps clients connect with their target audiences by creating relevant, valuable content that they want to read, watch and share with others. Her favorite tools include audience personas, crotchet hooks, whisks and duct tape. If you want to talk content, email her at keesiaw@2rm.com.