When treated with respect and empowered, millennials can actually become your most loyal and hardworking company employees
Want to know something a little hair raising? By 2025, three-quarters of America’s workforce will be millennials. Yes, in only 7 years, your employees will primarily be members of Generation Y, that giant, diverse, confusing group of young people who, according to the media, don’t know what they want.
But that’s a bunch of a baloney.
Millennials know exactly what we want — it’s just that what we want is often contrary to the way things “have always been done.” As such, we’re redefining the way the average American works, and believe it or not, it’s actually benefiting both the employee and the employer.
What this all means is that it’s time to start gearing your company’s practices toward the things Generation Y considers to be important. Most millennials are looking for a culture fit when they’re job hunting, so making sure your benefits and procedures are attractive is paramount. Of course, this may not always be the easiest of things to do, especially when you have a mixed-generation office, but it’s imperative you try.
There are many things millennials are looking for when searching for “the perfect job,” but the following three are big ones. They also require a bit of work on your part to implement, which is why you’ll want to start tackling them now.
Give Them Flexibility
Millennials are all about work-life balance. Unlike our parents, we’re not content with the 9-5, and we want to ensure we can effortlessly blend our work and personal lives. That’s why we’re so enamored with flexible work hours.
According to Pepperdine University, 74 percent of millennials want flexible work schedules. Giving us reasonable control over where and when we work equals fulfillment and ultimately, loyalty.
A flexible/remote office may sound like a lot to ask, but consider the benefits. A recent FlexJobs report found that 82 percent of millennials are more loyal to their employer if they have flexible working options. Why is this exactly? Well, the absence of both a commute time and the distractions that come with office life adds to employee happiness and productivity. Remote employees are also twice as likely to work more than 40 hours a week!
Along with flexible work schedules, millennials also need adequate time off. A pool of PTO days that can be used for sick days, vacation, and family commitments will serve them just fine.
Generation Y has also been increasingly vocal about the need for generous parental leave packages. Millennials share parental duties and parental leave is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Again, this seems like a big ask, but enabling millennials to effectively handle family and work life only leads to further company loyalty.
Help Them Make a Difference
When looking to attract millennial talent to your company, you have to incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into your overall workplace culture. Millennials thrive in purpose driven environments — they’re extremely socially conscious and civic minded. In fact, 76 percent of millennials say they’d take a paycut to work for a socially responsible company.
Because they’re passionate about global problems — such as non-renewable resources, climate change, overpopulation, human rights violations, and gender inequality — they’re looking to be part of organizations who share their values. According to a Glassdoor report:
- 75 percent of employees ages 18-34 expect their employer to take a stand on important issues, such as immigration, equal rights, and climate change.
- 84 percent of American workers believe companies have a critical role in affecting proposed legislation, regulation, and executive orders — especially those have an effect on their business or the lives of their employees.
- 75 percent of workers in the U.S. expect their employer to support charitable organizations in their communities through donations or volunteer work.
These statistics not only demonstrate just how important social responsibility is to millennials, they indicate that lack of significant CSR practices could be the determining factor in whether a prospective employee chooses between your business or a competitor’s. By paying attention to and taking a stand on the important issues facing our country (and the world) you may end up with a serious advantage when it comes to recruiting.
Be Honest, Respectful, and Communicate Often
No one has more of an effect on the day-to-day lives of employees than their direct managers — and the difference between good and bad management has a direct effect on your retention rates and bottom line. Millennial employees have caused a huge shakeup in the world of management.
Gone are the days of “do as I say because I’m your boss!” Gen Y is demanding more respect from their supervisors — and you know what, they deserve it. Everyone does.
Here’s the thing about millennials: they don’t want to be managed, they want to be mentored. They want to learn from their managers and receive individualized attention so they can grow as employees. They want leaders who care, leaders who focus on employee well-being, growth, and development. They don’t want to be micromanaged and lorded over, they want a coach who has their best interests at heart.
If you want to attract and keep millennial talent, you have to show them respect. Listen to their feedback, whether it be suggestions for growth and innovation, or legitimate complaints. Then, act on this feedback. Take it into consideration — if it’s valid, make sure it’s implemented and credited to said employee. If it doesn’t work for your organization, take the time to explain why. At the end of the day, millennials just want to know that their voice is being heard.
Finally, be as transparent and open as possible. Most millennials are used to being able to find out the “why” behind everything (thanks Google!). This will often lead to them questioning their higher-ups about the rationale and explanation behind every action the company takes. Though this can be a bit frustrating, it’s not out of disrespect. They just want to understand. The best thing management can do is to have a real conversation. Once millennial employees have their answers, they’ll be happy to do their job and do it well.
Millennials aren’t as mysterious, self-centered, or entitled as they’re made out to be in the media. As humans, they’re open minded, caring, and uncommonly generous. As employees, they’re incredibly hard working and fiercely loyal — provided their needs are being met. It won’t be long before your company is overwhelmingly populated by millennials, so now’s the time to make the changes needed to keep them happy and productive.
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