April 24, 2018
How can CEOs engage with millennials?

New Zealand's millennial population stands at around 1 million, according to Newsroom, and each year more and more of them enter the workforce. Student enrollment numbers in New Zealand are also dropping at an estimated 1-2 per cent a year, Radio NZ reports, as young people leave education for the lure of employment. 

With millennials entering employment at an accelerated pace, it's important business leaders – particularly those in the C-suite who tend to be slightly older – know how to engage their younger employees. There are several ways CEOs and executives can do this:

1) Create a mentoring culture

Millennials see jobs as opportunities to learn and grow. A Gallup study reveals that 59 per cent of millennials believe this, compared to only 41 per cent of baby boomers. 

This has the potential to be dangerous when you combine it with the fact that millennials tend to be more open to job hopping (Jobvite has found that 42 per cent of millennials change employment every one to three years, compared to the average for the entire workforce of 18 per cent). 

Millennials expect a genuine commitment to diversity - something they don't always feel is present at companies.Millennials expect a genuine commitment to diversity – something they don't always feel is present at companies.

It is up to business leaders to establish a culture where their employees can progress and feel like they are developing professionally. Only then will they encourage millennials to stay with them.

This means mentoring. Even if CEOs themselves can't do this, they can encourage those that do have the time to make millennial employees feel valued. Regular coaching, as well as putting millennials on projects that enable them to learn new skills, is essential. 

2) Actually commit to diversity

More than half (55 per cent) of millennials agree that though organisations discuss diversity, not everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, according to Talent Culture.

As a CEO, you are in a unique position to really drive change when it comes to diversity.

As a CEO, you are in a unique position to really drive change when it comes to diversity. Whether you choose to introduce targets (and make sure you actually meet them), review data with regards to promotions, or publish your diversity statistics regularly, you must make sure you are seen to actually be doing something about diversity, instead of merely talking about it. 

3) Encourage millennials to participate directly in innovation

Millennials have grown up in a world where technology is everywhere. This means they might have valuable opinions on how your business can innovate, particularly when it comes to digital transformation. Involving them in discussions on new technologies to adopt or other ways you can adapt to changing conditions is a good way to show that you care about what they think, as well as let them express their creativity. 

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