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Is there a solution to the Millennial challenge?

Narcissistic, adaptable and creative are character traits commonly associated with Millennial (Upwork Inc. 2015). Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials represent the largest portion of the US workforce and are expected to represent the majority of the Australian workforce by 2020 (McCrindle 2016).

Whilst 2020 is only a few short years away, currently only 12% of senior and management positions globally are held by Millennials (Deloitte 2016), meaning decision making is largely in the hands of Generation X, a generation more typically known for being loyal, financially driven and pragmatic.

With recent studies identifying 66% of Millennials have no intention of staying with their current employer for more than 5 years (Deloitte 2016), the issue management teams currently face is loyalty.  It is common knowledge the cost of replacing employees can be a drain on time, resources and finances, so is there a solution to reduce the high turnover of what is fast becoming the our largest workforce demographic?  

The solution to the Millennial loyalty challenge may just be Gamification, which is the art of incorporating gaming elements such as badges, points and levelling up, into a non-game context to increase user engagement.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, examples of gamification include LinkedIn’s profile strength bar, Frequent Flyer points and even Lynda certificates. The psychology behind gamification is simple; the appeal is in combining instantaneous feedback and a person’s natural drive to compete. This arrangement is particularly effective in engaging Millennials, who thrive on feedback and customisation of their personal learning journey.    

Despite the effectiveness in increasing employee engagement, many organisations are yet to implement gamification mechanisms in the workplace, with many leaders incorrectly assuming this would involve creating an expensive customised application or interactive employee game.

Below are three effective and simple ways to start gamifying your business today.

1.     Goal setting

Organisations function by achieving tasks and goals, so it follows that goal setting is an ideal area to implement gamification mechanisms. If the organisation is not ready to go digital, try a leader board for the team’s weekly or monthly goals using a whiteboard and magnets. Or go digital and take advantages of developed applications such as Nozbe and GoalsOnTrack that are cloud based, collaborative and relatively inexpensive.

2.     Learning and development

Millennials in particular seek more holistic development. They are not typically satisfied with being the best at their job and look to develop skills applicable to their broader lives. Online learning portals such as Lynda.com source high quality training material for the organisation, and upon joining, employees gain access to all available content, allowing development of both personal and professional skills.

3.     Career progression

In most cases employees are required to develop a range of skills and reach several milestones before a visible change is implemented, such as a promotion or a change in a position title. Utilising badges or a similar mechanism can keep an employee involved in their own career, take responsibility for their personal progression and reward them regularly along the way. This technique has been used successfully by the Scouting movement for years.  

So, is gamification the solution to reducing Millennial turnover?

Gamification is geared to high performing employees and it will still be critical for the organisation to have checks and balances in place to monitor and manage unwanted or poor staff performance.

However, there is a strong link between engagement and employee retention with recent studies indicating engaged Millennials are 64% more likely to stay with their current employer (Gallup 2016).

 As we see the growth of this demographic within the workforce, gamification is one solution to alleviating the Millennial loyalty challenge. 

 Contact WCA- People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance with managing your Industrial Relations and/ or general Human Resources requirements on (08) 9383 3293 or admin@wcasolutions.com or visit our website at wcasolutions.com

 

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