Millennials will soon be the largest living American generation, and their impact on corporate America is already apparent. Older generations have been fairly vocal about their concerns with the stereotypical flaws that most millennials have, like:
- “They are entitled slackers”
- “They need constant praise”
- “They are job hoppers”
- “They don’t understand the true meaning of work”
Sure these can all be valid arguments, but what is really going on is CHANGE. Millennial workers have a different view on values, needs, and the way leaders should manage a company when compared to previous generations. The rise of this generation means that business leaders will have to adapt new strategies to cultivate and retain valuable millennial employees.
In my last post, “The Perfectly Imperfect World of Quality,” I discussed how Lean Six Sigma can help organizations reach world-class quality. What’s interesting is that the strategies behind Lean Six Sigma directly align with the ways that millennials want to be motivated within an organization and here’s why:
Makes millennials feel important:
Millennials want their ideas to be heard, and they want to know that their work has purpose. Lean Six Sigma projects require leaders and frontline staff to work closely together to define the CORRECT projects to work on in order to solve an organizational problem. This gives employees a sense of importance because they are working in conjunction with their leadership to identify projects that will help improve customer satisfaction, the work environment, and the finances of the organization.
Provides millennials with constant praise and feedback:
Quantifying an indicator of progress within a Lean Six Sigma project is crucial. This helps determine if the project was a success, and the effort was worthwhile. Throughout the project, checkpoints are setup to review the metrics associated with the project, and feedback is given to the individual on what they are doing well, and what they need to improve upon. Millennials require constant communication because they want to develop their skills as their eyes are always set on the future. Furthermore, since results are being tracked throughout a project, their success is shared across the organization, something millennials love.
As organizations improve project by project, they reduce waste and variation from their processes, where the noticeable effect is that it increases employee productivity, which in turn increases employee motivation. Millennials who don’t have to fight through poorly-designed processes, devise workarounds to get things done, or spend time on non-value-adding steps are more motivated and happier. Not only that, millennials will see their roles within the organization as more than just the duties defined by their job descriptions; their jobs are now aligned with the mission and value of the organization.
Lean Six Sigma offers a great opportunity for millennials to get job satisfaction and recognition they feed on while the company gives them a reason to commit long-term to the organization. This, in turn, will gain not only an employee that brings more success to the company as a whole but a person who is part of the team who is passionate about driving sustainable success.