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on January 25, 2017 Engagement

Keeping Millennials Engaged: It's all About Communication

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Employee Engagement is confirmed to increase productivity, retention, and employee satisfaction. So with Millennials being the largest generation in the US labor force, it’s alarming that only 29% of them are engaged in their jobs.

Sure, we’ve all read about how Millennials can be particularly confident, risk-taking, and spontaneous. But instead of focusing on these personality traits, let’s concentrate on their values. How can understanding and catering to Millennial values translate into an effective employee engagement strategy?

When it comes to keeping Millennials engaged, it’s all about communication. It’s time to rethink your workplace communication strategies and tap into your Millennials’ potential to become motivated, productive team players.

Here are some effective communication strategies to engage your Millennial employees.

What do Millennials value?

93% of Millennial workers have left their employer to change roles. Millennials aren’t defined by their careers, which is perhaps part of the reason why they’re known for job hopping. With employee turnover costing 21% of the departing employee’s salary, this is bad news for business.

93% of Millennial workers have left their employer to change roles.

But Millennials don’t job hop for the fun of it — they’re searching for a role that will give them purpose. Give Millennials a reason to stay by understanding and catering to their values, which include:

  • - Working towards a mission they believe in
  • - Authenticity and honesty
  • - Recognition for their efforts and achievements
  • - Clarity and feedback
  • - Freedom to be creative and collaborate
  • - Learning opportunities

How can your communication strategy cater to these Millennial needs?


Gallup's research shows that emphasizing mission and purpose is one of the strongest factors for boosting Millennial retention. Communicate your company’s mission to align Millennial employees with organizational values. This alignment should be forged from the start of onboarding for optimum engagement. Millennials are known to fight for what they believe in, so effectively communicating your mission will engage them to strive towards it.

Tip: Don’t assign a task without communicating the reason behind it. Take the time to explain how each task is contributing to the ‘bigger picture’. Ingraining that big picture in your Millennials’ heads will give them purpose and drive to help paint it.

For Millennial engagement, paint the bigger picture in their heads.

Transparency and Feedback

Only 61% of Millennials feel they are in an environment where they’re encouraged to share ideas. Valuing authenticity, transparency, and honesty — candid communication is essential to keeping Millennials engaged. Show them that they’re a part of an organization where employees are valued and kept in-the-loop.

Tip: Use strategic surveying to foster a culture of total candidness. Surveying not only shows Millennials that their ideas and opinions matter, but can also measure their engagement.


87% of Millennial workers are motivated by personal recognition. Recognizing your Millennials’ achievements, both big and small, can encourage them to continue making meaningful contributions. Set up systems for recognition as a part or your communication strategy.

There are many ways to weave recognition into your Millennials’ Employee Experience. For example, the Employee Feedback experts at Cultureamp created a “Propsbot” — a Slackbot acting as a “system for documenting and sharing recognition and praise.”

Tip: Use milestones to recognize when important objectives have been reached, noting accomplishments and encouraging engagement.


Millennials want freedom to create, but they also want structure and clarity. Specify details when it comes to tasks and objectives, and provide clear feedback so that they know where they stand.

Tip: Communicate detailed objectives during your onboarding program to get Millennials moving in the right direction while establishing a culture in which clarity is valued and expected.

Connect and Collaborate

According to a Deloitte study, Millennials desire a collaborative work culture. Motivate and engage Millennials by enabling them to make meaningful connections and develop collaborative workplace relationships.

Tip: Introduce a Buddy Program into employee onboarding to encourage coworker communication and connections.

Encourage coworker communication and connections with a Buddy Program.


93% of Millennial workers are motivated by professional growth. Engagement and retention come from offering opportunities to learn and progress within the company. Ask Millennials how they’d like to grow professionally in their role, and communicate available learning opportunities to them.

Tip: Motivate Millennials to work towards internal developmental objectives by co-creating a Development Plan that they’re excited about.

Beyond Communication

  • Leverage technology when engaging your Millennials. There’s a reason why Millennials are considered digital natives, so make the most of purpose built technology.
  • Don’t forget to measure engagement to find out how your strategy is performing, and how you can improve.

Focusing on communication strategies as a key part of your onboarding program can help keep Millennials engaged, motivated, and productive. Want to learn more about how Employee Onboarding can increase engagement in your teams? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a demo today.blog_banner.png

Jeni Fahy

Jeni Fahy is a contributing author at Sapling, a culture-first organization helping People Ops leaders deliver employee experience programs with consistency, visibility, and analytics. If you’re interested in enhancing your employee experience with strategic employee onboarding, schedule a demo with the Sapling team.