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Ask not what your millennial can do for you…

Richard Tidswell

I met with a millennial the other day to talk about their progression and development.

We outlined an opportunity for them to take on a broader role within the business and take on more responsibility.

Interestingly, her two key motivations were to still have the opportunity to learn and develop skills – to have a mentor and to work somewhere where she felt strongly connected with the purpose of the organisation.

Here at Business Doctors, we often talk about the importance of identifying your ‘why’?

This is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do and can help you to inspire those around you.

In my previous article, we looked at better understanding millennials.

Generally, they yearn to learn, are ambitious and have a strong sense of purpose.

In this article, we will look at how to better engage with them to the benefit of everyone.

We often go into business ourselves because we want to find purpose, stick to our values and have some flexibility.

Many business owners take the plunge and launch their own venture because of a strong desire to work in an environment with just the right vibe and values – somewhere they and those around them are happy to go to work every day.

So why shouldn’t we offer this to millennials?

Developing the Win-Win

Companies such as Google and Apple have been successful in recruiting and retaining millennials – and are not restrained by ‘how things used to be done.’

They recognise that adapting to meet their needs can prove a worthwhile investment.

As KPMG identify, ‘Millennials are known for being headstrong and having firm views on their direction in life. Nevertheless they need help to harness that ambition, refine those ideas and focus on further developing those strengths.’

Consider how you can provide support and mentor what will become HALF of your workforce and take a genuine interest in their development.

Hand out the dopamine

Understand that millennials live in a world of instant gratification. Long spells between one-to-ones can lead to millennials becoming disillusioned and concerned that they are not making an impact.

Provide more regular feedback and celebrate achievements – no matter how small.

Genuine, spontaneous feedback and appreciation is good for employee engagement, motivation and retention.


Company operations are becoming increasingly dispersed– working out of remote locations and communicating via technology.

But we remain social beings. We want to be able to connect with our peers both inside and outside the office.

Gallup has discovered that 62 per cent of millennials who feel they can talk with their manager about non-work-related issues plan to be with their current organization one year from now.

Build the sense of unity within the team by providing opportunities to socialise. Help the team to build stronger, deeper relationships with their co-workers. Build in the time to properly say ‘hello’.

Flatten the structure

Reduce the ‘command and control’ tell style of management and instead work in a more involving and collaborative way.

As David Woods describes “When leaders let go of power, they get more power back”

Unleash the knowledge and skills within your team by giving people opportunities to help solve challenges facing your business.

Perhaps identify key projects or initiatives that are important to help move the business forward and allow space for differing ideas and perspectives to be shared.

As a small business owner, learning to let go and having the confidence to accept that this does not mean losing control, can be one of the greatest challenges.

However, if we don’t move to a more collaborative style of leadership, we risk alienating half our workforce. This can stifle creativity and innovation, which helps us to adapt to the fast pace of change in the world around us.

* Get in touch if you would like to look at ways to actively engage with your team, build motivation and commitment. We hold staff engagement sessions and surveys.
* For more information, call 07824 157 487, email or visit Business Doctors. You can also follow on Twitter @Biz_Doctors