Traits of millennials that can positively impact business bottom lines

millennials

Millennials are a unique generation and they are causing a big stir in the business world. They have already surpassed Generation X and the Baby Boomers to become the biggest generation in the workforce today. It’s predicted that millennials will be a huge 50% of the workforce by 2020.

So what’s the problem?

Millennial traits are largely unprecedented by previous generations. Their career needs and life goals are totally different and this gets CEO’s worried because, frankly, they don’t understand them. But, there is some good news. There are 5 millennial traits that can positively impact business bottom lines. The only thing businesses have to do is understand these traits and put them to good use.

1. Tech-savvy

Millennials are the first generation of babies to grow up exposed to technology such as the internet, computers, and web applications. It’s likely they grew up playing video games instead of board games. Whilst this might make some marked social differences managers/CEO’s find hard to understand, it has some serious business advantages. Millennials can do things faster using technology to support them. More often than not, they have found an innovative way to batch emails, manage data or even work remotely. At feedback meetings with millennials, you could probe them about tech and ask them what they think might benefit your work environment. Millennials want to feel involved in the bigger picture of a business and this type of genuine, two-way feedback can really help to satisfy their career needs. In addition to this, millennials are social media experts by birth and every business should be looking to have a digital presence in order to remain competitive. Asking millennial employees to help out on the social media front (if they would like to do so) could give them the responsibility they desire and also help your business to become more tech savvy.

2. Curious

Millennials are big into self-development. They are curious about themselves and the world around them. They want to learn new skills and will invest time in doing so. Companies that have successfully tapped into this aspect of millennial workers have created career-development programs that help millennials grow. PepsiCo, for example, recently launched a program that focused on providing employees with access to “critical experiences” rather than a simple ladder to the top. This type of self-development path is incredibly attractive to millennials and can help to recruit and retain them. Further, they are willing to learn new skills that can support your companies growth, it’s a win/win. Another incredibly effective way to encourage career development is through experienced career coaching or mentoring services. You can find highly experienced career coaches in every industry. This type of focused development is an undoubted hit with the millennial crowd who are constantly seeking answers.

3. Socially progressive

Millennials are more socially conscious than any other generation. Businesses offering millennials a compelling social advancement vision/objective will find success in recruiting and retaining this generation. Salesforce is an example of a company that has successfully tapped into millennial energy through a variety of initiatives that encourage employees to give back. Other socially conscious companies, popular with millennials, are Ben & Jerrys, Levis, and Google. Take a look here to see how these companies are marketing their social movement to millennials. Whilst being socially progressive may not seem like it will impact revenue, it actually does. It helps you to build trust with millennial consumers who are your future clients. It also helps you to give back to the world and be a good person.

4. Performance management

Millennials love feedback. A recent study found that over 40 percent of millennial employees wanted to receive weekly feedback from their managers. Millennial workers thrive on feedback even if it’s only related to improvement, instead of praise. Regular feedback sessions can be utilized by businesses, to make sure millennials are reaching goals, in the right way, from the offset. Further, it can also ensure millennial employees are satisfied in their roles, to manage and prevent any future retention issues.

5. Collaboration

Millennials want to be in an open office environment. They thrive in teams and in “work families” where groups work together toward similar goals. It’s no surprise that dominating businesses such as Facebook and Google have capitalized on the collaborative work environment to bring out the best in their millennial employees. For you to do the same, create a transparent work environment (not necessarily physically) where there are cross-team meetings and open concept meeting spaces, so employees can be aware of each others work throughout the organization.

 

5 proven ways to boost your knowledge retention now

retention

It’s scary to think we waste hours, absorbing new information just to forget it minutes later. What’s the point of learning if we don’t practice knowledge retention? Luckily, there are 5 scientifically proven ways to beat this ubiquitous knowledge retention issue, many of us face, on a daily basis.

Why we struggle with knowledge retention

Before we can meaningfully apply these retention strategies it’s important to understand why our brain forgets new knowledge. This can be explained in two simple points:

1. Our brains get stuck at the first hurdle

When we read a book or listen to a presentation we can miss up to 3 or 4 concepts in just the first few minutes. This is because the brain gets stuck at the first new concept/obstacle. It then tries to apply the new concept but fails. And if you continue to read the book or listen to the speaker. The brain is still focused on the first point and fails to absorb all of the new points, even if you hear them, they don’t get retained. And of course, without complete information, you have ‘incomplete information’.

2. We need to make the mistake, ourselves

No matter how good the explanation and how well you feel you understand the concept. You won’t really grasp or retain the concept until you make a mistake when implementing it. This is because your interpretation will vary from the actual meaning the writer/speaker intends to communicate. You’ve only interpreted what they’ve said, and more often than not, the interpretation is not quite correct. You can only find out how far off the mark you are by trying to implement the concept.

How we best retain knowledge

Some interesting stats about how different learning processes influence our retention.

We retain;

  • 90% of knowledge when we teach someone else/practically apply it, immediately after learning.
  • 75% of knowledge when we practically apply it.
  • 50% of knowledge when we engage in a group discussion.
  • 30% of knowledge when we see a demonstration.
  • 20% of knowledge from audio-visual.
  • 10% of knowledge from reading.
  • 5% of knowledge from lectures.

Read more about the stats here.

Interesting stuff but how we can try to retain more when we are forced to rely on things such as books and presentations? Here are 5 scientifically proven ways to encourage your knowledge retention, even if the learning process is statistically against you!

5 tips to boost knowledge retention

1)Ask yourself questions about the new material

If you are reading a textbook, this can simply be what is the main point of this section?

What are the key discussion points?

Try to answer these questions as you read along the text. Writing the questions and answers down is even more helpful.

2) Engage in reflective learning 

Similar to the above point but more practically focused. When learning new materials you should be constantly be asking yourself “How can I immediately apply what I just learned?” If you focus on how to immediately apply the knowledge to your current job, it will increase retention and positively influence performance/deliverables in a big way.

3) Skim material

The idea here is to skim-read material first and pick up on keywords and concepts that you’ll be covering. This way when you read the material, properly, your brain knows what to expect. And you can organize the new information into your pre-learned headings.

4) Relate new material to what you already know 

In one study, participants who were provided with relevant context linking to previous knowledge, before listening to prose passages were better at knowledge recall later than those who had received no context before.

You can add context for new material as you are learning it, or you can prepare and spend some time thinking about what you already know about the topic before you begin studying.

5) Visualization 

You can connect the new information to visuals in various ways. For example, you can imagine that you are having a conversation with a friend about the new information, you can visualize a story about or even better, you can vizualize practically applying the new information.

 

What’s the one thing you are going to do after reading this blog? Try applying one of the retention techniques and I bet you will retain more from this blog, than most things you have read today.

 

Millennials; how to make them stick around

millennials

Millennials are a hot topic. Mainly because they are the largest ever generation to hit the (US) workforce. Millennial patterns and behaviors have a huge impact on business bottom lines. In particular, the issue of millennial retention is getting CEO’s hot under the collar. The cost of replacing a millennial employee ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. Plus, when employees leave, the trend can affect morale and decrease employee productivity. If turnover issues become publically known, it can become difficult for a business to attract new talent. So, what can organizations do to encourage millennial retention?

1.Focus on the millennial win/win

The win/win is an agreement where every party benefits. Workplace win/win solutions are a highly effective way of resolving retention issues. The win/win model for millennials won’t be as simple as (work/money), which suited previous generations but instead, may look something more like, (work/flexibility) or (work/travel). Win/win workplace agreements are so successful because they provide a multitude of benefits for organizations. For example, the win/win work environment encourages shared responsibility and collaboration amongst employees. This type of employee/ employer interaction has been shown to increase innovation and overall workplace productivity, by up to 50%. To find out more about striking a win/win in your organization, I have written extensively on them here.

2. Involve millennials in innovation

Following on from the above point, millennials want to feel included in the bigger picture of any organization. They want to feel that a business is growing and that their work can actively contribute to its development. 54 % of millennials want to start their own business (or already have), and a huge 78% of millennials state a company’s innovation as a crucial factor for deciding if they want to work there. Organizations, therefore, need to see this millennial mindset as an opportunity. By assigning these highly motivated, high potential millennials, innovation-focused tasks such as researching new business opportunities or leading innovative projects, the company can find new innovative opportunities and resolve millennial retention.

3. Promote self-development

Promoting self-development, as a means for millennials to grow their skill set, is another way to ensure retention. An example of this would be Companies like Coca-Cola — which created its Coke Young Professionals or CYP (pronounced “sip”, get it?) to promote young professionals’ professional development. This provides a sense of community something that millennials find particularly motivating.

4. Add meaning to everything they do

Millennials want to engage in meaningful work. This one fact influences every decision in their careers, from recruitment to retention. Start from the beginning and think about how your job descriptions are phrased, for roles where you are hiring millennials. Do they define bigger goals? Does the role tie into the bigger picture for the organization? Would it be attractive to a millennial audience?

A great initiative is to group millennial employees into teams focused on the same goals. This allows them to feel immersed in the bigger picture. Their purpose, in the company, will be continually highlighted and they get a sense of community, which they find particularly motivating in a workplace.

Finally, assigning mentors to millennial employees is a great way to ensure their needs are met. Mentors can seek to address any issues before they become a retention issue and further millennials will get the career development they desire.

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