Based on the results of a recent Gallup poll of millennial employees, business leaders are faced with a serious crisis. According to the poll, only 29 percent of respondents claimed to be actively engaged in the workplace. This is particularly significant because millennials are now the largest age group in the workforce, representing 38 percent of all U.S. workers—and by 2025, that number will be 75 percent.
A disengaged workforce poses a variety of problems for business leaders. Productivity can plummet, communications can suffer between employees, partners and customers. Turnover may increase, leading to a plethora of expenses like rehiring and training.
Just how costly is low worker engagement?
Gallup found that businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement are 21 percent more profitable than their competitors.
So why are millennials tuning out in the workplace?
According to Jason Dorsey, the Chief Strategic Officer at The Center for Generational Kinetics, “…the average millennial is going to look for both the ability to communicate the way they like, be it through text or Twitter, and maintain that level of customization…Therefore, companies who don’t adapt their engagement approach are at great risk of near-obsolescence.”
The businesses that fail to adopt modern technology solutions in the workplace are failing to acknowledge the expectations of their millennial employees. Millennials were raised in the Internet age, are fully aware of how to utilize smartphones efficiently and demand seamless, autonomous and instantaneous communications capabilities.
Many businesses have begun to adopt to the technology practices that are so common among millennials. From developing internal mobile applications to company-wide intranets, technology integration should theoretically be helping millennials become more engaged in the workplace.
However, the results demonstrate that the opposite is happening.
Here’s the problem: incorporating new tools into the workplace isn’t sufficient to improve employee engagement alone. Those tools must be designed with a satisfactory user experience to actually increase the rate of adoption, make work functions simpler and provide a platform for better communication.
But what can business leaders do to ensure their internal systems have a satisfactory user experience?
The answer is surprisingly simple: ask your millennial employees. Conduct user experience research and actually bring your employees into the process by having them test your systems. That way, you can determine the specific components of your applications or intranets that are confusing or counterproductive.
By giving your employees a voice in the conversation about how to make improvements, you’ll also be giving them a reason to get more engaged in the outcome.
Business leaders cannot ignore the millennial engagement crisis that is likely having an impact in their own offices. But in order to resolve the problem, you’ve got to understand how your employees work and what they expect from the tools provided to them.
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