By Katie Meyers
They work for us; they work alongside us—and hey, they might even be our bosses. There is no escaping the fact that millennials are now a large part of today’s workforce. The cliché that millennials are lazy, entitled and have bad work ethics is neither helpful nor accurate. So let’s move on from the commonplace stereotypes and embrace millennials for what they’ve already demonstrated in the workplace. Many are self-motivators, visionaries and, once you earn their trust, brand loyalists. But the real differentiator is that millennials require and yearn for employee engagement—more so than any other generation before them.
At Manasquan Bank in Wall, N.J, we recognize that need. As the bank’s internal communications coordinator, I’m tasked with reinforcing the culture, brand and strategic vision—and serving as a link between branches and bank departments. In other words, employee engagement is at the core of what I do.
What exactly is employee engagement? According to Forbes, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” Millennials want to feel connected to the organization and be a part of the team. They care about the work they put forth and the overall wellbeing of the organization.
For internal communicators, this allows us to act creatively to conceptualize employee engagement content and interactive ideas. Here are two ideas that have worked for us.
Use your brand.
When we talk about the bank brand, it is important to educate employees on standards and consistencies that are required across the board. If you earn millennial trust then you essentially have the most powerful employee at your fingertips—a brand enthusiast. If you want to keep their trust then ensure employees are always kept in the loop with any branding updates.
For example, tone and language can play a big role in branding—if your organization decides to begin calling customers “clients,” then you must train and educate all staff to do the same. If you don’t communicate brand standards across the organization, you’re inviting possible market confusion and inconsistencies to occur. Plus, your employees might feel slighted that you did not inform them of the change. Align external and internal marketing and allow your employees to be your biggest brand fans.
To have fun with employee engagement, create contests and programs that reflect the identity and brand of the organization. During a training session, department meeting or anytime groups are together, surprise the team with an emoji brand contest. Ask team members to select an emoji that most represents the company. Team members then go around and discuss why they selected the chosen emoji and how it reflects the brand. This quick and easy branding session makes work fun and gives the employee a voice to share their views of the company.
Have fun with core values.
All employees, especially millennials, should be able to distinguish and fully understand your company’s core values. Core values are essential for any organization to prosper, and it is essential to remain true to them. This is even more critical for the C-suite, as leaders need to lead by example. Promote a workplace that recognizes employee commitment to the core values and the overall mission. Double up and be sure to include the core values to any employee recognition programs.
At Manasquan, we recently launched an employee-wide contest that asked employees to select one core value and describe what it means to them. In any contest of any type, an incentive is usually required. Instead of a monetary incentive, it’s better to come up with a resourceful way to drive employee interest, such as concert tickets, an extra PTO day, or promotional “swag.” Millennial or not, employees of all generations love freebies.
The contest received an overwhelming number of responses (the majority driven by millennials) and the team—including CEO Jim Vaccaro—handpicked the core value winner. The contest was not only a victory for the winner but for the bank as well. The entries provided insights for a better understanding of the ways our core values reflect employees’ work.
Katie Meyers is internal communications coordinator and brand champion at Manasquan Bank, Wall, NJ.