I do not think there is anyone who actually likes the word “millennial.” Millennials don’t given the negative stereotypes which surround that word. HR departments and older generations don’t because it means dealing with the reality of the millennial generation, which surpassed baby boomers as the largest American generation last year. Nevertheless, the dreaded word remains and companies have to figure out how to keep millennials engaged in the workplace.

But if your first thoughts are to start promoting socially progressive causes or to advertise new technology, take a step back. Here are some basic, fundamental steps which any business can use to engage and encourage their younger workers.

  1. Trust and Open Information

Millennials are commonly stereotyped as an independent, free-thinking lot who move from place to place and job to job. But we do not move around because we want to. We move around because in this globalized, less secure world, we have to move from place to place to grab better opportunities and some stability before bad things kick in.

Millennials want to be able to trust their companies, but it is not like we are alone in being less trusting of others. Unfortunately, companies have to make an effort to show they can be trusted to help their workers to create engagement. This means promoting a more transparent leadership structure where the bottom of the pyramid can know who at the top is exactly in charge of what, what decisions they made, and why. Creating a Kafkaesque corporate bureaucracy without transparency and open information will lead towards millennial distrust and departure.

  1. Don’t Micromanage

Millennials are younger, which means that they may commit more mistakes. And they do want managers to tell them when they have made a mistake and help them do better.

But there is a difference between teaching and micromanaging. Millennials know what a deadline is and what is expected from them, and eager (some say too eager) to prove themselves. Just as millennials want to be able to trust their companies, even if it’s a high-quality law firm, they want to know that their companies trust them. Watching over their shoulders is the exact opposite of trust.

Don’t hesitate to teach millennials and help them improve. But there is little to gain and plenty to lose by constantly checking over every single thing being done perfectly.

  1. Millennials are Individuals

If you paid close attention to the previous two tips, you might observe that these are tips which actually apply to everyone. Older workers are less trusting these days and are more interested in corporate transparency than the past, and they don’t like supervisors babying them every step of the way either.

That is the point. There are millions of millennials from a variety of economic and racial backgrounds, and millennials are the most diverse generation in American history. Certainly some millennials are entitled, Twitter-obsessed brats, but every millennial is different. The majority of millennials want to be viewed not as a millennial, but as an individual.

So take the time to communicate with your workers, millennials and non-millennials alike, and find out what they want at the individual level. No guide out there can show you what your workers want nearly as well as really getting to know them as different persons with their own wishes.

Author's Bio: 

An internet entrepreneur and social media expert