Your perking isn’t working…

There’s a new dance craze sweeping the nation.

Only kidding. But seriously, are we still throwing money at problems like retention, engagement and performance? 2016 was a year of enlightenment. We learnt a lot. We found out that Millennials are really hard to manage and engage and that (for the first time), they have overtaken Gen X to account for the largest percentage of today’s workforce. So what exactly do we know?

Instant Gratification

There really is nothing that you can give someone that they don’t already have (quick caveat: I’m talking about things that cost money). We can have anything we desire at the flick of a click without earning it or ever really needing it. The delivery of a parcel or receiving of ‘gifts’ will always get the dopamine pumping...but it’s short lived, superficial and costly.

The Modern Workforce

Pay no mind to the rise of the 2-parent-working family, at your own peril. The world where men are demanding flexibility and redefining fatherhood. Take no heed of the global army of women who are fighting for equality and opportunity in the workplace, at your own risk. These ladies are rapidly growing in numbers and they want success, they want to work hard and they still want to raise a family* (*in some cases).

Millennials are not Engaged

Don’t take my word for it. Gallup reports that the vast majority of Millennials are not engaged, a staggering 55%. This, in a world where most employers are dancing to their tune and showering them with gifts but receiving high levels of indifference and low levels of enthusiasm in return.


It’s not you, it’s me

Actually, it is you. The solution lies with you. You’ve (potentially) got everything that they actually want and need. The want to be listened to. They want to be coached. They want feedback and to feel like they’re making a difference. They just want a great boss who can help them reach their potential.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive recipe for creating an amazing leader, but I can give you a rough idea:

1) Talking. Bear with me because this may sound odd, but we need to teach our managers how to talk again. In the advent of technology, we have drastically reduced the need to talk AND YET, we know that the answer to solving most problems is an effective conversation. It sounds simplistic but real-time feedback, praise, coaching and satisfaction will often come from just talking.

2) Practice, practice, practice. You don’t learn a new language overnight. The majority of good managers are cultivated, not entitled.

3) Don’t talk for the sake of talking. There is no point, and little credibility, in setting an action or objective and not completing it. The follow up is as important as the conversation - it must not be forgotten or postponed.

4) Understand the whole person. Let’s start playing to the strengths of what we know about the Modern Workforce. Put your ego and ‘the way you’ve always done it’ to one side and ask people what matters to them.

This might sound daunting and it is. Not so much a new craze but more an oldie that has been rejuvenated; talking is the big thing for 2017.

To talk more, visit

Cited Gallup

Liz HaywardComment