Why Transparency is Vital to Engaging Millennial Employees

Transparency is key to leading millennials

Workplace transparency is very important to millennials, much more so than other generations. They tend to look for more honesty, meaning, and flexibility in the teams they work for. Honest, transparent leadership is one of the main leadership traits they value.

Millennials are the largest working cohort in today’s job market. In fact, 2020 will be the turning point when millennials will make up the majority of the workforce. For that reason, building a culture of transparency that gives them visibility into decision-making processes, and opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways, is vital to keeping them engaged and satisfied with their work.

With job hopping increasingly common, many businesses are struggling to retain their generation Ys. A study that collected responses from employees across 20 countries found that 29 percent of millennials feel finding another job is easy, in comparison with just 16 percent of baby boomers who feel this way. Transparency is vital to maintaining their loyalty.

Older generations are used to classical management systems, but micromanagement, strict boundaries, and limited communication with management are not effective ways of engaging millennials. Younger generations perform better under open, candid, trust-based environments. They don’t just want to be told what to do, they want to understand why.

If you have millennials on your team, encouraging a culture of transparency can give their engagement a serious boost. Let’s take a closer look at why.

Communication improves

Millenial engagement at work

Millennials are more engaged when they understand more about their workplace. Transparency leads to improved communication about everything from issues to objectives. Employees that understand their team’s short and long-term goals, as well as how they will be involved in achieving them, find it more motivating to deliver. According to SHRM’s 2015 Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, clear and open communication across all levels of management was rated as a key factor to engagement. Trust between employees and managers was also rated as important.  

A study found that millennials are unclear about the significance of their roles and how they make an impact to the success of their organization. This lack of clarity deeply impacts intrinsic motivation and hence engagement. The increased communication and information sharing characteristic of transparent cultures increase the likelihood that employees will understand how their work makes a difference.

Trust is strengthened

Transparency in the workplace - millennial trust

Transparency produces trust, and trust impedes corruption and politics. When managers openly share critical information with their team, employees see management trusts them with that information. This is very motivating, as trust shows how valuable millennial employees are to their organization. Millennials see trust as reassurance that they have the opportunity to make their voice heard, and make a significant contribution to their teams. It also strengthens employee-manager relationships, which facilitates communication and a healthy feedback cycle.

Job satisfaction skyrockets

Millennial job satisfaction

Millennials differ drastically from the boomers or generation X in that they are less likely to see value in staying loyal to and plowing through a job they are not particularly satisfied in. Whether it’s due to a sense of entitlement, desire to feel they are making a difference, or relentless hunger to fulfill their potential, job satisfaction plays a huge role in their level of engagement. Studies show management transparency leads to higher satisfaction levels, job commitment, and productivity in millennial employees. The huge correlation between employee happiness and management transparency is why more and more companies are using transparency to engage and retain the best young talent.

Teamwork grows

Millennial teamwork at the workplace

Leaders are starting to notice that transparency creates less tension, which in turn creates environments millennials thrive under. As Glenn Lopis explained, “Transparency . . . forces a team to work smarter together.” As employees become more transparent with one another, their relationships and collaboration strengthen. It’s important to note that transparency must start at the top: management is responsible for initiating and modelling transparency in order to maintain a transparent culture in their teams.

Problem-solving gets easier

Problem-solving in the workplace

If transparency strengthens collaboration and communication throughout your team, then it facilitates effective and efficient issue-management. Employees learn more about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, work styles, and ultimately how to effectively solve problems with each other. This makes setbacks easier to pinpoint, and issues quicker to fix.

Now that you’ve learned about why a transparent culture engages millennials, you may be wondering how to actually build it. Find out here.

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