10 Things You Can Do to Attract and Retain Millennial Talent
Millennials are the present and future of business in the United States, currently comprising the largest portion of the workforce at about one-third. While the need to hire employees between 18 and 34 is undeniable, employers are finding a noticeable shift in what it takes to get millennials through the door and 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 their work environment in addition to compensation. They want work to feel like an extension of their personal life, often viewing coworkers as an extended family within their home away from home.
To create this sense within your office, offer a casual dress code for at least part of each week. Also, work to keep office interactions casual while maintaining the level of professionalism necessary for the 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 overbooked 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, more than any other generation, prefer a professional work environment that features beautiful interior design and visually appealing office furniture. 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 at the office. To appeal to these employees, keep up with modern office design trends and ergonomic furniture options such as adjustable office chairs and standing desks.
3. Watch Your Branding
In addition to an attractive office, younger respondents to the IPSOS study indicated a higher level of influence regarding the overall look and branding of a company, including logo design and 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? Allow employees to come in as (reasonably) early or stay as (reasonably) late as they want so individuals can work during hours that are conducive to their 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 regularly check in on their employees to ensure job happiness is met and provide career growth opportunities via consistent training. Whether this means on-the-job training, attending more industry conferences, or experimenting within the position will depend on the individual and their career aspirations.
6. Give Purpose Beyond the Paycheck
Although micromanaging should be avoided, check in with your employees more than once or twice a year during performance reviews. Millennial employees want to know that the work they're producing impacts the business positively. Managers should share the finer details with their employees as validation they're on the right track or that their work may need improvement. In any case, they'll 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 coworkers to feel like friends and family, too. Lines of professionalism should never be crossed, but business owners and managers can take the time to host company events and various team-building exercises. This will help build positive relationships between coworkers and relieve the day-to-day stress of work.
8. Sponsor Volunteer Opportunities
Better yet, combine your team-building exercises with corporate-sponsored volunteer activities to create a sense of employee togetherness while also supporting a good cause. At National Business Furniture, we have an employee-run volunteer committee made up of a representative from each department. The committee organizes multiple volunteer events throughout the year. We even offer our employees paid time off should they want to participate 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 remotely when possible. They'll appreciate the flexibility and be more likely to stay with your business long-term.
10. Pay Them Well
Yes, benefits and work environment 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 will move on. Be fair when determining compensation, offer yearly performance-based raises, and don't think that benefits can ever replace a good wage.