Lazy. Entitled. And unsatisfied at work. This is the popular myth about millennials, the 92 million Americans born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. But what if the research showed that today’s millennials can actually offer your organization at least six, clear ways to improve the health of your culture–not in some distant future, but beginning today.
Millennials are now our country’s largest living generation. And their size and influence will only grow. How can your ministry organization, church, or business take advantage of how they help transform your workplace? To find out, I asked Amy Nagley, Ph.D. a senior research analyst for Best Christian Workplaces Institute over the past two years. Amy received her doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Seattle Pacific University in 2016.
The Six Best Practices
Based on our analysis of BCWI’s data , here are the six, clear best practices you can leverage with millennial leaders to improve the health of your culture:
1. Leadership Character
“Recruit, hire, promote, and reward leaders that exhibit compassion, humility, honesty, peace, love, and joy. Seek out leaders that are authentic, honest, fair, and are full of integrity.
2. Leadership Competence
“Recruit, hire, promote, and reward leaders that exhibit clear and elaborate plans for adequate management strategies. Seek out leaders that know how to communicate important information to staff in a clear and inspiring way.
3. Seek to Understand Staff Gifts
“Incorporate strengths/gifts-related conversations into regular 1:1 staff development conversations. Ask appreciative questions to learn what millennials are good at, such as, ‘What gives you passion? When are you at your best?’ As your conversations progress, provide work assignments that bring out these gifts.
4. Provide Role Clarity & Autonomy
“Prioritize setting clear and meaningful goals regularly. Solicit follow-up questions from staff to ensure they are clear on what they are supposed to be doing. When setting goals for staff, enable a level of autonomy in how they go about meeting the goal (i.e., provide the end goal, but let them choose how they go about meeting the goal).
5. Communicate the Mission & Outcomes
“You can ensure staff members remain aware of the impact of their work by regularly communicating with them. Communicate information that links their own work-related success stories with the mission and outcomes of the organization/department. Share specific ways that their work is impacting the bigger picture of the organization and society at large.
6. Create a Culture of Fun!
“Model humor and fun to staff, and organizational norms emerge. The simple act of smiling and laughing at work can relieve stress and improve organizational outcomes.”
A true measure of how much millennials are emotionally connected at work reveals their actual engagement.
Here’s why you can trust and act upon these six opportunities:
During our interview, Amy, a very bright, savvy researcher of industrial and organizational behavior, pointed out a recent Gallup study that indicated only 29% of millennials were engaged in their work. “The Gallup study involved a largely secular work environment. Even so, the questions Gallup asked did not actually speak to, or reflect, a true level of employee engagement,” said Amy, who over the past two years has spent hundreds of hours researching and studying countless points of data to pinpoint true, verifiable measures of employee engagement in faith-related organizational cultures.
“When we use a true measure that accurately captures the extent to which millennials are emotionally connected at work—specifically, the questions that make up the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey— then the true picture of millennial engagement becomes clear:
45.9% of millennials–not the 29.5% suggested by the Gallup study—are engaged in their work.
And here’s the cherry on top of the sundae:
- “Inspirational Leadership and Life-giving Work are the top two (of eight) factors in BCWI’s eight-factor FLOURISH model that most influence employee engagement. When these factors rate high on an organization’s BCWI survey, the degree of employee engagement of millennials soars from 45.8% to 92.5%.”
How could you leverage this uplifting truth about today’s millennials to improve the health of your organizational culture?
To be continued.
THE MILLENNIAL ADVANTAGE
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