For the past few years, millennials have been a driving force behind major changes in the American workplace. While this isn’t exactly surprising, what is eye opening is that many of these changes have been sought by employees of every generation. The only reason Generation Y has been the impetus for change is because they’re fully prepared to leave for greener pastures if their current employers aren’t willing to play ball.
In just seven short years, millennials will make up 75% of the American workforce. Faced with a statistic like that, it’s pretty clear that it’s time for businesses to really buckle down and focus on attracting millennial talent. It’s HR’s responsibility to work in concert with upper management to develop and implement recruitment and retainment policies, meaning this is an issue every human resources rep should be concentrating on. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider the following five ways to appeal to (and keep) millennial employees.
Introduce flexible and remote scheduling options
Hiring managers may have noticed an uptick in millennials asking about flexible and remote work options during job interviews. This is because flexible scheduling and the freedom to work from home seriously influences whether or not a potential employee will accept a job offer.
Millennials desire a high level of flexibility because it supports a better work-life balance. Being able to create schedules that work around with and around their lives is a big draw. They like to choose when and where they they do their job, as well as how to complete tasks in the way that best suits their working style.
But allowing employees to work remotely is not without it’s own benefits. According to Ohio University:
- Telecommuters are 53% more likely than non-telecommuters to work more than 40 hours per week.
- Employees who work from home report 25% lower stress levels.
- Full time telecommuters are 13% more productive than office workers.
- 76% of telecommuters are more loyal to their companies.
- Letting a single employee work from home can save a business $10,000.
If a company want to engage and retain millennials, they’re going to have to implement flexible and remote work programs. Fortunately, tools like Slack and Skype make it easier than ever to allow their employees to work from home without sacrificing communication. Furthermore, Generation Y is incredibly proficient when it comes to cloud-based collaboration tools and virtual workstations.
Embrace corporate social responsibility
Millennials are up to date and invested in global problems, such as human rights violations, climate change, finite resources, and gender inequality. Because of this, they prefer to both purchase from and work with companies who have a clear commitment to giving back to society.
A study from Horizon Media found that 81% of millennials expect companies to make a public promise to be good corporate citizens. What’s more, a 2015 Cone Communications study reported that 62% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. Simply put, they want their work to have meaning and they’ll put their money where their mouths are.
Many companies make the mistake of randomly picking a cause without truly buying into its message. Gen Yers are incredibly savvy and will see right through that. Take time to do the research and find a cause that fits with your company’s culture and that your employees really believe in. Sincere support is the key to capturing and maintaining millennial interest.
Encourage an inclusive environment
Millennials are America’s most diverse generation to date, and they’ve made it perfectly clear that they’re interested in businesses that advocate inclusion and equality. In fact, 47% of millennials consider the level of diversity and inclusion in a company to be an important factor in their job search.
Millennials are far more likely than previous generations to be cognizant of discrimination and/or bias at their place of work. They’re also a lot more comfortable discussing these issues than their older colleagues. Millennials find the acceptance of various thoughts and opinions to be a crucial component in business. They’re not going to check their identities at the door just to make older, less inclusive, generations more comfortable.
It’s important to note that diversity and inclusion are about more than just age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or physical ability. It also includes accepting and valuing different point of views. It’s HR and upper management’s job to create an environment where employees are free to safely and comfortably express their identities.
The quickest way to scare away members of Generation Y is to micromanage them, set strict boundaries between management and employees, and fail to communicate the intricacies of company decisions. Millennials excel in trust-based environments. They don’t want to be told what to do, they want to be told why — understanding how decisions are made within the company is fundamental to their motivation.
Millennials are more engaged when they understand as much as possible about both their work and the company itself. A high level of transparency often leads to:
- Improved communication between employees and management
- Increased understanding of short and long-term goals
- Employee trust in upper management
- A heightened feeling of value among employees
Proper communication is the most important skill to master, whether you’re in HR or management. Millennial employees will continue to ask questions until they feel they know everything they should about their workplaces. As long as they receive open and honest answers, they’ll continue to be loyal and engaged. However, if they feel as if they’re being stonewalled or manipulated by management or senior coworkers, they’ll simply find themselves another job.
Offer real benefits
For some bizarre reason, many companies think younger employees want benefits such as free food and ping-pong tables. While those things are certainly nice, they’d really rather see company funds spent on the benefits that improve their quality of life, such as health insurance, paid vacation, and 401ks. Flexible schedules, remote work, parental leave, and employee assistance programs are also big winners. Any benefit or ‘perk’ that allows for greater flexibility, autonomy, and gives them what they need to live a better life will draw them like flies to honey.
Millennials are trailblazing their way through American society, and the workplace is a high priority when it comes to change. If you want to recruit and retain millennial talent, you’re going to have to put some serious work in. However, these changes, whether they feel big or small, are sure to impress Gen Yers — and that will only pay off in the end.
I'm a people-person through and through. When I'm not elbows-deep in the inner workings of small business retail, I'm negotiating the mesmerizing world of online community-building and dreaming of new, creative ways to help people connect through the written word.