Posted by Rachael Jones on Oct 5, 2017 8:51:00 AM


It has been widely reported that a work culture supporting employee engagement leads to greater employee retention. The Gallup survey “State of the American Workplace” found that only one-third of employees are “engaged” at work – they love their jobs and work hard every day to improve their organizations. That means two-thirds of employees are not engaged – 51% are “just there” and 16% are “actively disengaged”, miserable in their jobs and destroying much of the good work done by engaged employees.1

The engagement of employees not only impacts retention, but the daily productivity of workers, often negatively. One of the issues is that organizations struggle to define employee engagement. More than just being “happy” at work which is difficult to measure, it is linked to performance, productivity, and ultimately delivering better business outcomes, which can be measured.2

During the course of the survey from 2012 to 2016, the survey identified improvements in three areas that lead to employee engagement. It is not surprising that these three elements also represent priorities for millennials in the workforce. Here we explore each.


Employees, and especially millennials, want recognition and feedback through regular meetings with their managers. The survey states, “Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely as those who do feel adequately recognized to say they'll quit in the next year.”3

This is one area that is relatively fast and easy to impact – after all, how much time and effort does it take to thank employees or tell them they did a great job?

When giving recognition, managers need to take the time to find out how employees prefer to be recognized. While some may enjoy being applauded in front of their colleagues, others may be uncomfortable as the center of attention in a large group. For others, a lunch or gift card could go a long way to showing appreciation and reinforcing their engagement.

For more on this topic, read “What do Employees Value? How to Increase Employee Retention”.

Feeling their opinions count, they can make a difference

Today’s work environment is changing more rapidly than ever before and gone are the days when managers and leaders have all the answers.4 The best leaders hire people who have skills that complement the team, making the whole truly greater than the sum of its parts.

“Employees who believe they are heard feel appreciated for their insights and have opportunities to make significant contributions to their work environment.”5 

Opportunities to learn and grow

The best employees want to continue to learn and challenge themselves. Once they master a skill, they are rarely motivated to continue to perform the same tasks day in, day out. “For many people, progress in a role distinguishes a career from employment that is ‘just a job’."6

In terms of opportunities to learn and grow, these can come from informal situations such as working on special projects with other colleagues who can teach them new skills. It can also mean offering formal learning and development programs that will help employees acquire new capabilities and knowledge.

Different people learn in different ways, and learning leaders are often challenged to develop training in a variety of formats to meet the needs of a range of learners. As an example, when it comes to your corporate training programs, do you know how engaging they are for your millennial workforce?

To assess your training courses for millennial engagement, download the “Developing Effective Training for Your Millennials Checklist”. It provides three key areas of engagement millennials respond well to when learning. Use the checklist to review your courses and find out how well they stack up.

Training millennials

Are you developing your millennial workforce to take on a leadership role in your organization? Read "Training Millennials: Identifying the Needs of Future Leaders".

1-6 Gallup's State of the American Workplace Survey

Topics: corporate training, Millennial Workforce, employee retention, employee engagement, millennials in the workplace

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