Today's restaurant operators aren't just concerned about how millennial customers are changing operations. Now, millennials also make up a good portion of the labor pool, and that poses a separate set of challenges.
Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce, according to the “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” report from Gallup. Only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, and more than half (55%) are not emotionally or behaviorally connected to their jobs. With the added factor of 60% of millennials saying they're open to different job opportunities, keeping them happy—and in their current jobs—is a chore. Why that matters: Gallup estimates that millennial turnover due to lack of engagement costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion a year.
So how can operators build a loyal workforce of millennials? The Gallup report suggested four areas leaders should look at in their operations.
1. Focus on feedback
One big piece of both engagement and performance for millennials: constant feedback. While only 21% of millennials meet with their managers on a weekly basis, some 44% of those regular meeters say they are engaged. The need for the ongoing conversation—versus the annual review—matches how they communicate now, instantly and continuously, through texting and social media, for example. And according to Gallup, those who meet regularly get the effective feedback that makes them better performers both for their team and company.
This engagement, though, is admittedly not millennial-specific, as 43% of non-millennial workers who meet with their managers regularly also feel engaged.
2. Management switch-up
Hand in hand with the need for constant feedback, millennials are looking for their managers to be coaches, not bosses. Command and control from a boss doesn’t resonate. What does is a manager who acknowledges and understands them, and helps them grow and develop their strengths. In fact, Gallup found that millennials don’t necessarily want to fix their shortcomings, and that organizations can win over millennials by minimizing weaknesses and instead focusing on maximizing a millennial employee’s strengths.
3. It's not all about perks
Compensation is important to millennials, but most also want to work for companies that have a mission, purpose and culture. “Most millennials don’t care about the bells and whistles found in many workplaces today—the ping pong tables, fancy latte machines and free food that companies offer to try to create job satisfaction,” the report says. Gallup warns that those entitlements can even be taken as condescending, if they are not paired with career development and a clear purpose behind a job. Because millennials view work not just as a job, but as a contributing part of their lives.
“Millennials are first-generation digital natives,” says Gallup. More than 70% of millennials get their news and information from the internet, versus reading a paper or seeing it on traditional TV news. And they also use the Web to manage finances, pay bills, shop and more. That’s in part because millennials use technology—smartphones, tablets and laptops—more than any other generation. So when communicating with employees, consider that they are always connected.