Guest blog: Irish businesses need to win the hearts and minds of employees

Business, Guest Blog | Wed 7 Aug | Author – Business & Finance
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Niamh Graham, Vice President of Global HR, at Workhuman on adopting new approaches to help motivate the millennial workforce.

By the year 2030, millennials will comprise as much as 75pc of Ireland’s workforce. The millennial generation holds different values and principles to those who have gone before them and employers must plan and adjust their people management strategies accordingly.

As the command and control style of management continues to crumble, organisations in Ireland must adopt new approaches to motivating the millennial worker. Employers should consider what exactly drives the modern employee. In doing so, this will help boost morale, maximise workplace productivity and improve employee retention. There are a number of changes employers can make to better motivate millennials in the workplace.

Social recognition

According to a 2018 report on HR trends from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Workhuman, retention continues to be the biggest challenge faced by HR managers. A high turnover of employees is a major headache for companies and can have a significant impact on a company’s growth.

The workplace in Ireland has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last few years. Today, Irish businesses need to win the hearts and minds of employees. They need to provide positive employee experiences where employees feel inspired to do their best work. Employees who are recognised and engaged are more committed and less likely to leave.

Taking this step is relatively easy and represents great value on the level of investment that can be made. A simple “thank you” or “congratulations” goes a long way in today’s workplace. Offering employees encouragement and regular feedback lets them know their work is valued, as well as giving them an insight into areas they need to improve upon. Advances in modern technology have also made it easier than ever to recognise an employee’s efforts.  Using tech platforms, employers and colleagues can offer tailored and continuous feedback in a more convenient and structured way.

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Positive workplace culture

Studies have suggested that millennial workers place a great deal of emphasis on the culture within the workplace. One such study conducted in the United States has shown that many younger workers would be willing to sacrifice as much as €6,500 in annual salary in return for a positive workplace culture.

Many millennial workers need to feel their work has a value beyond simply monetary gain. They like to feel they’re contributing to a worthwhile cause and that their employer shares this vision. Beyond this, promoting a culture of collaboration as opposed to competition will also be beneficial to fostering a positive and harmonious workplace.

What current and former employees say about your workplace culture can have a huge impact on employee retention and motivation. Social recognition programmes in your workplace will cultivate feelings of goodwill and camaraderie among employees, feelings they make public in how they talk about the company.

Crowd Sourced Rewards

Our own research indicates that millennials are better motivated when offered crowdsourced reward systems. Millennials work harder for rewards when it’s a result of peer recognition. One way some companies are changing their compensation and reward structures is by allocating some variable pay budget to peer recognition and rewards. A recent survey from the Workhuman Analytics Research Institute found that over 70pc of those aged 18 to 34 are open to working harder if they received monetary awards, crowdsourced from their colleagues.

About the author

As the Vice President of Global HR at Workhuman, named The Best Workplace in Ireland in 2019 and one of Europe’s Best Place’s to Work, Niamh is passionate about cultivating a workplace culture of gratitude. Niamh has presented on workplace culture at leading Irish and International conferences including The Talent Summit, Dublin Tech Summit and Great Place to Work and regularly contributes to Irish and US publications.