Millennials are the present and future of business in the United States, currently compromising the largest portion of the American workforce at about one third. While the need for hiring employees between the ages of 18 and 34 is undeniable, employers are finding a noticeable shift in what it takes to not only get millennials through the door, but to keep them working for the business in the long term. Gone are the baby boomer days of sticking with one company for an individual's entire career, but if you want to attract and retain millennial talent for as long as possible, consider these options.
1. Keep it Casual
This generation values not only compensation, but environment as well. The younger crowd wants work to feel like an extension of their personal life, often viewing co-workers as a sort of extended family within their home away from home. To create this sense within your office, offer a casual dress code, if not every day then at least for part of each week. On the same token, work to keep office interactions casual while still maintaining a level of professionalism that's necessary for business to run smoothly. For example, holding on-the-fly meetings in a touchdown lounge area or breakroom rather than scheduling every meeting in constantly over-booked conference rooms is a great way to create a sense of ease and fluidity among employees. Not every business interaction needs to be a scheduled and formal event.
2. Make it Beautiful
According to a 2017 study from IPSOS, millennials prefer a professional work environment that features beautiful interior design and visually appealing office furniture more than any other generation. In fact, 76% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 and 55% between the ages of 35 and 54 state that office design and aesthetics influence their overall impression of a company compared to only 39% of adults ages 55 and up who feel the same way. Of these, millennial women, particularly those living on the west and east coasts of the United States are the most likely to be positively influenced by good interior design within an office setting. Keep up on modern office design trends as well as ergonomic furniture options such as adjustable office chairs and standing desks to appeal to these types of employees.
3. Watch Your Branding
In addition to an attractive office, younger respondents in this study indicated a higher level of influence when it comes to the overall look and branding of a company, including logo design and the look of its website. This points to a desire millennial and gen-Y Americans have to work for a company that knows how to present itself to the outside world.
4. Eliminate the 9-5 Schedule
Restricting employees to specific working hours is not conducive to productive work. Think about it—not everyone is an early bird and not everyone is a night owl. So why should everyone be constrained to working the same hours? Allowing employees to come in as (reasonably) early or stay as (reasonably) late as they want will allow individuals to work during hours that are conducive to his or her own working style. Don't worry, they'll still get their work done.
5. Provide Training
The average millennial climbs the corporate ladder much quicker than previous generations, and feeling stuck in one position for too long will not bode well for retainment. Managers should be sure to regularly check in on their employees to ensure job happiness is being met and provide opportunities for career growth via consistent training. Whether this means on-the-job training, attending more industry conferences or having the ability to experiment within the position will depend on the individual and his or her career aspirations.
6. Give Purpose Beyond the Paycheck
Although micromanaging should be avoided, be sure to check in with your employees more than once or twice a year during the big performance reviews. Millennial employees want to know that the work they're producing is impacting the business in a positive way. Managers should share the finer details with their employees as validation that they're on the right track or that their work may need improvement. In any case, they'll just want to know where they stand.
7. Offer Team Building Activities
Not only do employees want their office to feel like home, but they want their co-workers to feel like friends and family, too. That is not to say that any lines of professionalism need to be crossed, but business owners and managers should be sure to take the time to host company events and various team building exercises. This will help build those positive relationships between co-workers and relieve the day-to-day stress of work.
8. Sponsor Volunteer Opportunities
Better yet, combining your team building exercises with corporate-sponsored volunteer activities will create that sense of employee togetherness while also supporting a good cause. At National Business Furniture, we have an employee-run volunteer committee made up of one representative from each department. The volunteer committee organizes multiple volunteer events throughout the year, and we even offer our employees paid time off should they want to take part in any volunteer events not organized by NBF. This incentive encourages employees to give back to the community and creates a caring corporate community all our own.
9. Be Flexible
Millennials place greater value on benefits than on salary in most cases. To account for this, keep your work environment and policies flexible to account for ever-changing needs. Allowing employees to work from laptops in any area of the office will prevent them from feeling chained to their desks day in and day out. Take that a step further and allow employees to work from home from time to time, if possible. They'll appreciate the flexibility and be much more likely to stay with your business in the long term.
10. Pay Them Well
Yes, benefits are important, but there's no substitution for good pay. While this may be the rule for all generations, millennials are not the exception in this particular case. Pay poorly and your employees won't stay long. Just be fair when determining compensation, offer yearly performance-based raises, and don't think that benefits can ever replace a good wage.
Whether you're looking to hire more millennial employees in the near future or you need some help keeping the ones you already have, taking these steps to make your business more millennial-friendly will surely help. For more tips, be sure to read our article on 5 Reasons Your Business Isn't Attracting New Talent.