Employee engagement is always a big challenge, but it's an even bigger challenge for young professionals who've just graduated from college and are just beginning their careers. While it's probably the case that much of the negative qualities attributed to Gen Y workers are really just stereotypes, it's demonstrably true that younger workers value different experiences in the workplace more than do older workers. If you're having trouble keeping your young, recently graduated workers engaged and productive, consider the following activities that can help immensely in motivating your young talent:
Employees who have just graduated from college are leaving an environment of constant learning. They've become used to the stimulation of learning new ideas, so the traditional work environment in comparison can, after some time, grow dull and not very motivating, especially when work tasks are fairly repetitive. A great employee engagement idea for not only this cohort, but for all employees, is holding occasional lunch meetings in which you discuss and learn something new.
At a start-up where I used to work, we'd hold one lunch meeting a month to discuss what we learned in an online class about HTML and website design that the start-up registered and paid for. It was a great way to galvanize especially younger workers who were eager to learn new skills on the job every week. This employee engagement activity also keeps your workforce skilled so that they're prepared to do more for your company.
If there's one thing that's true about the Gen Y cohort in general and young-ish workers in particular is that they like to feel part of something bigger. Most Generation Y workers played team sports when they were younger and generally grew up within very tight social groups. As such, what motivates young workers is working with others. If the work that your employees do is mostly independent, have them occasionally work on projects that depart from the daily grind in which they have to come up with and execute ideas together.
Of course, these are many more employee engagement activities that work, but these are the three from my experience that really made a difference in motivating workers. Not only do activities increase productivity, but they make the workplace a happier, more welcome place to be.
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Healther Saunders; ECITB Product Dev. ManagerSee pricing