Millennials are about to become the largest generation in the United States. If your advisory firm doesn’t already employ someone in this age group, it’s a good bet that you soon will.
There’s been lots of focus on how advisors can gain millennial clients, but there’s been much less written about how to engage millennial employees in advisory firms.
Just as demographics will shift to clients classified as millennials, your firm will also begin to turn over clients to these new employees as older employees retire. To prepare for this shift, you’ll need to learn how to communicate, engage and support millennials as you train the next generation of advisors.
Defining the Millennial Generation
When talking about such a large group, it’s important to find common denominators as a starting point. Millennials are defined as those born in the early 1980s to mid 1990s. Some definitions extend this group to those born in the early 2000s.
Millennials often receive scorn from older generations for wanting everything instantly, but the truth is more nuanced.
Older millennials remember dial-up Internet, the transition from VHS to DVD to streaming, and going to the library to do research instead of Googling an answer on their smartphone.
Those shifts have caused millennials to be highly adaptable, dynamic and open to new ways of working and embracing change. Sometimes that openness gets misconstrued as an unwillingness to follow directions or established protocol, when all the employee wants to do is find a more efficient way to work.
Getting the most out of your millennial employees means taking a fresh perspective as well.
Now, let’s look at four ways to engage your millennial workforce:
1. Provide Vision. It’s always been important to give your team vision and provide steps for success, but it’s even more critical with millennial employees.
Remember your college syllabus? It showed you the entire semester and what would happen during each class. You knew what you needed to do to succeed.
Similarly, millennials want to know the expectations right away, because they want to accomplish them. How you manage expectations is key to fulfilling your vision.
That said, communication is still a two-way street. Create an environment where your employees feel empowered to speak up and ask questions.
Communication is all about listening, interpreting and adjusting to the moment. Be open to questioning and improving your company vision.
2. Gamify Your Work Environment. Millennials grew up with video game systems like the Super Nintendo and Gameboy. When they beat a level, they went to the next. Each small success brought them closer to the big end goal of completing the game itself.