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It's All About Engagement

By Alexia Vernon

April 26 2012 - Tweeting, posting, sharing, texting - when does it ever end for Millennials? The important thing to remember is that it doesn't. Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are actively doing something at all times and if you don't want that something to be aimlessly browsing or looking at online job boards, engagement at work is key.

The first 90 days can be an exciting time for new employees who are eager to take on new challenges and prove themselves to their employers. But if you don't provide enough work or tasks for them to do it, they may grow apathetic while waiting. Your rockstar employees will ask directly what they can do, but overtime even they will wonder if they are really valued in their position.

This is why engagement is so important. It makes employees feel happy to come to work every day, knowing that they are valued for their accomplishments and productivity. Engagement provides a pathway for even the most inattentive Millennial to be focused. Engaged workers also mean a smaller turnover rate - saving your company time and money.

To keep your Gen Y workers engaged, you have to apply their interests in multi-tasking and constant communication into their work. Here's how to do it:

To Do Lists. It's an old-fashioned concept, but for Gen Y it doesn't have to look like a laundry list on a piece of paper. Take your list of ongoing assignments and post it online through a task-manager program or an e-calendar. Employees will then know what's expected of them in their first 90 days, how be prepared to manage their time, and will be able to keep you abreast of their progress.

Clear-Cut Deadlines. Making employees accountable and responsible is one of the best ways to keep engagement present from the first day onward. Just as importantly, be sure to have clear deadlines and expectations for each one. Allow for some flexibility if you see employees are struggling or if they feel productive more at night instead of during the day. Remember to work with them and not against them, and make it clear that you want to be a partner in getting their deadlines met.

Communicate Goals. Gen Y wants to combat the perceptions that they are lazy and apathetic. Having and effectively communicating short-term and long-term goals enables your young employees to see the relevance of their work and how it is making significant impact to your team, company, and to customers/clients.

You'll find that when engagement isn't present in the workplace, Millennials will often live up to the very worst of their reputation. While they can be disrespectful, entitled, and downright whiny, they would much rather be creative, collaborative, and tech savvy. And when engaged, that is exactly who they will be. Gen Y is often misunderstood. They are eager to over deliver and show off their talents. They just need the opportunities to do it.

Alexia Vernon is an author, speaker, International Coach Federation (ICF) certified coach, trainer, and media personality who specializes in helping organizations recruit, retain, educate, and grow their young professional workforce. In her book 90 Days 90 Ways: Onboard Young Professionals to Peak Performance , Alexia demonstrates how to achieve the goal of getting new employees oriented, integrated and trained within 90 days of their employment. As a member of Gen Y and with her unique approach to talent development, Alexia has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including CNN, NBC, Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, FOX Business News, Forbes.com, ABCNews.com, TheGlassDoor.com, and Mint.com. To learn more visit www.AlexiaVernon.com and connect with Alexia on Twitter @AlexiaVernon.




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