Linda Rottenberg, in her book Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Zags, has a chapter called "The Purpose-Driven Workforce." Not only does she touch on two of my favorite topics—employee engagement and culture—but she also discusses what this means for today's workforce.
Millennials, as per Linda, are 36% of today's workforce and growing. Unlike the Boomers, they want meaning and flexibility at work and are not afraid to walk if you won't give it to them.
Linda shares how the FAA had to highlight how they helped people to get millennials to even apply for their jobs. Endeavor, Linda's company, instituted job rotations since millennials get bored and also want to be involved in everything. Thomson Reuters did something similar.
This is the generation always on and always connected. They also want authenticity and transparency in their leaders, which Linda mentions in her chapter titled "Leadership 3.0."
But I'm a Gen X'er, have become a lot less tolerant to widget-like treatment, and want meaning in my work too. I may be used to less flexibility and startup-like perks (and not sure what I'd do with some of them even if I had them), but otherwise I want what the millennials want.
And I know I'm not the only non-millennial who feels this way.
So with a growing workforce demanding meaning, voice, and flexibility—regardless of their generation—companies have to adapt or be left with the disengaged and unproductive.
The first step isn't so hard: talk to your employees. Find out what motivates them. Show them you care. They may surprise you and not ask for much but you have to ask and mean it.
Go ahead; I'll wait. Let me know what they say.