AKA How to keep a millennial engaged at work
Millennials have a job-hopping reputation, and some of this is for good reason: 21% of millennials have changed jobs in the past year and 75% of millennials believe changing jobs advanced their careers. With only 29% of millennials truly engaged at work, compared to the 34% average, it is not surprising that we tend to be on the lookout for something better.
Older millennials, like me, also dealt with the financial crisis and job insecurity early in our careers, leading us to always keep an eye out for other options. Despite this reputation, millennials will stay in their position when they are engaged and given the opportunity not only to advance in their career but to help define their career path. Take it from me—I’ve been at the same agency for a decade.
I joined Nomadic a few years into my career, after hopping around a bit from a real estate development company to a local ad agency. I was interested in switching to a digital agency, and after a lengthy interview process, I ended up becoming an account supervisor at Nomadic. I worked on our biggest account, eventually moving up to account director, and really grew up with the agency and got to see that account grow over the course of seven years.
Eventually, I started to feel a ‘what’s next’ vibe where I felt I had plateaued in my role and wasn’t sure what to do, whether to stay or go. Rather than just watch me bounce, my supervisor took the time to understand my situation and we worked together to create the operations director position, an entirely new role that would fit my interests and Nomadic’s business goals. I felt valued and empowered, so I chose to remain a Nomad.
It wasn’t just because of that one defining moment. It was because of the culture and the experience I had every day with my team. Here are a few of the things that kept me at the agency:
Nomads get consistent and constructive feedback. Nomads get reviews twice a year, formal reviews in August with an opportunity for raises, plus check-ins in February with a bonus opportunity based on performance. Most Nomads also have biweekly 1:1 meetings with their supervisor.
Through these mid-year reviews, my supervisor has given me opportunities to grow in ways I hadn’t expected, particularly in my new operational-focused role. Millennials might get a bad rap for wanting ‘participation trophies’ and constant acknowledgement, but what we really want is feedback, both positive and constructive, and a two-way dialogue.
Nomads are held accountable. Have you ever worked with someone who is so amazingly creative, strategic or good at sales that they can just treat everyone around them poorly and nobody says a word? That can be discouraging at best and isn’t something anyone tolerates at Nomadic. Here, being courteous and respectful is as important as getting the job done.
At Nomadic, everyone manages their own schedules and is responsible for their own work. We also hold to the belief that good ideas can come from anywhere, and I have seen this in action on both small projects and agency-wide pitches.
Millennials want to be challenged and engaged. We thrive on responsibility, accountability and being pushed to grow.
Nomads are treated like adults. I have two small kids, so I’m not spending long days at the office like I used to pre-kids. It felt a little strange at first, but I have never once felt punished for reduced desk time. Nomads are expected to get our work done and take time we need for our families. Oh, and we can work from home any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, which makes it easier to squeeze in doctor’s appointments and kids’ school parties.
Nomads are encouraged to make this the agency where we want to work. Want to plan a happy hour? Do it. Think we should have a pie contest? Get it going. Think we need a new department or want better maternity leave? Put together a proposal and make it happen.
Seasonal beer program? Treadmill desk in the office? Not there yet, but part of my master plan. I guess it’s true that millennial employees are always on the lookout for something better. For me, the agency has continued to provide that ‘something better’ so I don’t have to go somewhere else. Like its namesake, Nomadic has kept moving, changing and evolving, and that’s how I’ve done the unthinkable and remained part of the team for so long.