Millennials are misconstrued to be lazy and entitled employees and unmotivated to put in the work necessary to succeed. In reality, approximately 84% say they care more about making a difference at their workplace rather than individual success, showing they are incredibly impact-motivated, passionate and driven employees. Furthermore, millennials now represent half of the U.S. workforce – 75% by 2025 – meaning this generation will become the faces of our industries moving forward, and they’re already coming in looking to make a positive impact immediately.

As the workforce continues to evolve, employers must learn to adapt their management styles to further appeal to the next generation of workers. Regardless of where they work and who they work for, happy and engaged employees typically perform at higher levels and are overall more satisfied with their careers, which translates to improved overall success of the company.

Below are a few principles employers can implement to effectively manage their millennial employees to create a more enjoyable work environment leading to a higher ROI.

Create a strong sense of purpose

Millennial employees desire impactful opportunities within their careers, which affects where they choose to work. Once they’re hired, how can employers keep them motivated and satisfied? A start is to give them a sense of purpose in their roles.

Millennials desire worthwhile and meaningful work, beyond simply making money for themselves or for their company. In my industry specifically, it can be difficult for our employees to feel like they’re making a meaningful difference, as skilled trade professions – such as professional roofers – have been dubbed inferior to other professions that require a four-year college degree. In reality, trade professionals have the opportunity to make a large impact on their company, as well as everyday people. Whether it be building and reconstructing homes for families to live and grow in, or commercial projects that impact an entire community, these aspects of our work can be incredibly appealing and fulfilling to millennial workers.

Positive impacts your employees can make in their roles and across the company like these should be consistently emphasized and highlighted.

Promote collaboration amongst employees

As mentioned above, millennials seek for and thrive on the opportunity to make a difference and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Therefore it’s not surprising that they look for employment opportunities where they can engage and build relationships with their colleagues. Even though this generation tends to struggle with face-to-face communication with the copious amounts of technology we’re surrounded with today, studies show they still crave collaboration and connection – even more so now after various COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantine periods.

Business owners can assist their millennial employees in finding more collaborative opportunities by creating team interaction opportunities to further build camaraderie. While this can be a tricky time for in-person interactions due to constantly changing health guidelines and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtual team events can still be efficient in bringing employees together.

Employers should challenge millennial employees and give them more opportunities outside of what is expected to promote collaboration. Not only can businesses benefit from the results of a close-knit team, but employees will also grow as individuals by building confidence and comfortability.

Provide feedback

Receiving clear and consistent feedback is vital for any growth, professionally or personally. In order to make the large impacts they desire, millennials know the importance of gaining feedback to continually improve and sharpen their skills.

Employers should set up quarterly meetings with their employees to review their efforts and share constructive comments to help them improve for future tasks. Too many times employers worry about hurting their employees’ feelings and avoid constructive criticism when in reality, clear and honest feedback can be one of the only ways to jump start improvement.

Giving frequent feedback also builds trust between both sides, as employees see their supervisors truly care about their growth while also giving them clarity on where they can improve for the company. Employees can then take feedback they receive and set goals for improvement, keeping them engaged and inspired.

The millennial generation will change the workforce indefinitely as more enter the professional realm each and every year. It’s on leaders to prioritize investing in millennial employees – not just as workers, but as people – both professionally and personally. By following the principles to millennial employees, they will have the tools they need to greatly impact the future of your business, the clients they serve and their overall community.