Generation X and Millennial employees are becoming a sizeable minority or majority in many businesses. Workplaces are changing. But that doesn’t mean that every company can be Google or Apple. We can’t all have our employees working from beanbags. At IRD Glass, we manufacture precision ceramic components and glass components with:

  • Flatness of 1/10 wave or better
  • Parallelism of .00003” over a 9+” substrate
  • A zero parts per million (PPM) defect rate
  • A 98+ percent on-time delivery rate

So we know something about the demands of the modern workplace, and just because employees are young doesn’t mean they can dictate what gets done and when it gets done. That being said, changing your approach could help you retain more of today’s top candidates and get the most out of your younger employees. Here are five ways to create a sense of urgency with young employees, courtesy of IRD Glass!

Recruit Honestly

Creating a sense of urgency with young employees begins before they’re employees at all. Be completely honest during the recruiting process. Generation Xers and Millennials want to be challenged and want to be interested in the kind of work they perform. Over-promising and under-delivering in this department is a recipe for unengaged employees that will soon be moving onto greener pastures. Set clear expectations during recruiting and share your organization’s beliefs and values upfront. If your organization is involved in the community or donates to charities, let them know. IRD Glass donates 10% of our profits to charities that share our values, and this has been a big draw among younger members of our team.

Meritocracy is King

Generation Xers and Millennials don’t believe in traditional hierarchies – call it a generational thing. They have a low tolerance for chains of command. While employers don’t have to cater to younger team member’s every demand, it’s worth remembering that 10 to 15 years from now they will be the ones with the most seniority – if they stick around. You can’t fake experience, and to keep younger employees engaged employers are going to have to rethink how they structure their organizations. Many are trying flatter models that emphasize performance and merit over titles and tenure. Would this model work for your business?

Create and Emphasize More Benefits

Younger employees love the collateral benefits that come with their place of employment. They don’t have to be big and pricey, but they should help to create a sense of engagement. Wellness programs are particularly popular, as are flexible spending accounts, health club discounts, paternity leave, and performance-based rewards programs where employees earn points when they perform well. And that’s the key to these benefits – if chosen and implemented correctly, they will increase employee engagement, productivity and retention.

Coaching, Classes, Mentorship and Advancement

Young people simply don’t believe in the employer-employee relationship of old. They can’t imagine working for any one company for more than 5 or 10 years, let alone 20 to 30 years. In an age when smartphones provide a constant source of entertainment and when there is always something “better” going on somewhere else, it’s hard to convince young employees to stick around. Some employers are short circuiting this “grass is greener” mindset by providing clear lanes for advancement within their companies and building coaching, mentoring, and free educational classes into their work model. Always be preparing your young employees for the next step, whether it’s with your company or another. By doing this, you’re more likely to retain them. Try building quarterly developmental check-ins into your workflow to ensure your young employees are accomplishing the goals they set out in previous meetings. Try offering free, non-mandatory classes ever week or every other week where upper-level staff (or even lower-level staff with unique skills) teach the rest of the staff how to do something – whether it’s doing their taxes, merging emails, or building an optimal LinkedIn page. Weekly classes  will also create a sense of community, bring your employees together and allow them to show their unique skills and personalities – another thing that’s important to Generation X and Millennial employees.

Create an Environment of Open Communication

If any employee of any age isn’t sure what’s going on, they’ll make up the answer for themselves. The result isn’t always pretty. But Generation Xers and Millennials tend to value close coordination and communication with coworkers and superiors more than previous generations. They are unlikely to establish the level or frequency of communication with superiors themselves, so it’s up to the superiors to set the right tone.

About IRD Glass

IRD Glass has over 30 years of experience providing optical precision, glass machining, thin-film coating, and ceramic machining for medical, aerospace, defense, machine vision, and homeland security industries. We are ITAR registered, ISO 9001:2008 certified, and proud to be Veteran-Owned. Visit our homepage for more information.