workplace engagement, millennials, millennials in the workforce
More millennials seek work where growth will be valued More millennials seek work where growth will be valued
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More millennials seek work where growth will be valued

No one wants to work for a company that doesn't appreciate and engage with its employees. Yet, many Americans do. According to a poll from the years 2010 to 2012 by management-consulting company, Gallup, more than two-thirds of American employees are, in fact, not involved in, enthusiastic about, or committed to their work and workplace. According to a 2014 workforce survey by employee-engagement platform TinyPulse, "lack of appreciation and recognition is driving employees to feel undervalued."

Millennials, the new generation of corporate leaders, have seen this evident in the discontent of their parents. That's why they're intentionally seeking out companies that encourage leadership opportunities and employee recognition.

And companies—from start-ups to Fortune 500 firms—are noticing that the lucrative promotions, retirement incentives, and fancy titles no longer the among the most powerful things that attract, and keep, employes. Many organizations are becoming increasingly open to creating more employee-centered, purpose-driven cultures that people will vie to join.

A 2014 report by consulting firm The Energy Project—in conjunction with the Harvard Business Review—cites three key tactics company leaders can use to increase employee interest and performance. These include:

  1. Treating employees with respect
  2. Recognizing and appreciating employees
  3. Being positive and optimistic

In short: A little validation goes a long way.

Today, technology shops are wooing potential candidates with zero-down stock grants that vest over 3 years. Outside of pure profit incentive, financial firms are increasingly offering compressed work weeks or flex hours. Even creative agencies are offering funds for classes and conferences. At Saatchi LA, it's $2,000 per employee.

Every job seeker can now scout out a culture of appreciation. It just takes knowing what to look for on company websites and asking a few pointed questions.

On many corporate websites, there should be a company culture section. If not, that's a red flag. There should also be descriptions of how employees have been recognized or internally promoted. Once these initial boxes are checked, there's more diligence to do to determine how well a company values its employees.

At an interview, millennials (as well as other job-seekers) should ask questions to get to the truth of the matter, such as:

  1. How do you celebrate exceptional achievements and the employees who are a part of them? Feel free to share a recent example.
  2. How often are employee evaluations performed and to what depth?
  3. What learning and development opportunities are available to employees?
  4. How are managers trained in leadership skills?

It's worth the time and effort to ask the right questions in order to find a company that values its employees. After all, recognition is one of the biggest performance motivators. A survey by Glassdoor, a transparency-driven jobs and recruiting marketplace, confirmed that team members of all ranks who received gratitude were motivated to work harder and stay longer in their job. That's a win-win for everyone.

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