Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a millennial. It’s safe to say this generation is making waves in traditional workplaces. Monster’s Multi-Generational Survey found that millennials tend to not conform to the traditional notion that long hours behind a desk makes for a more productive employee.
Managers view them as people who expect more than they deserve, and society views them as the “me” generation. For a quick look at how millennials are poised to shape the overall economy, check out Goldman Sachs’ infographic.
Here are things you should know as a small business owner to help you manage and retain Millennials.
1. Enhance Your Company Culture
The older generation might scoff at the idea of an exciting and nurturing “corporate culture”. But Millennials are all about it. From a relaxed dress code to perks like free healthy snacks, embracing a culture that millennials crave will help you not only attract but retain employees. When hiring, be sure to highlight your company’s positive culture to attract quality millennials.
2. Embrace Teamwork
More than likely, the Millennial employee has worked on group projects since Kindergarten. An IBM study showed that more than half of millennial workers claimed to work better in groups than alone.
You can make this work to your advantage by structuring your staff so certain tasks and projects are accomplished by working together. Check out online apps and other technical tools that enhance and encourage teamwork. This article has great reviews of some of the best collaboration tools out there: Collaboration Tools You Should Know in 2019.
3. Provide a Flexible Work Environment
“Flexibility” means different things in different offices. But the overall idea is that a flexible work schedule is an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week.
If you hire Millennials, be ready to negotiate flexible hours and required time in the office. Don’t have an office? Millennials are a great fit for a remote environment. Forbes has a great article to help you get started: Three Ways To Create A Thriving Flexible Work Environment.
4. Take Advantage of Millennial Skills
Most millennials don’t want to work in a “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it” environment, especially when it comes to technology. Millennials are digital natives who grew up on the internet, smartphones and social media. Their tech experience and knowledge can help put systems and processes in place to help your business run more efficiently.
5. Diversity is Key
Forty-seven percent of millennials actively look for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers, according to a survey by PR firm Weber Shandwick. Millennials are more likely to define diversity as a mix of experiences, identities, ideas and opinions, rather than more traditional definition of diversity related to racial, ethnic and gender demographics.
6. Focus on Results
Are your employees clear about the long and short-term goals of your business? If not, it’s a big problem for all generations, but especially for millennials.
Understanding the “why” behind a project or mission is crucial for millennials. Set the millennials on your team up for success by setting up transparent benchmarks to measure performance.
7. Offer Meaningful Feedback
A report from SuccessFactors and Oxford Economics found that millennial workers feel better and do better at work with feedback on a weekly or, in some cases daily, basis. It might sound narcissistic but it’s simply because millennials are the least experienced workers. As a result, they need more guidance.
8. Have a Career Plan
Forget about that gold watch after decades of service. Many millennials have no problem job hopping. Employee turnover can be expensive so keeping your millennial employees engaged and fulfilled is key. There are several strategies you can use.
First, keep the communication flowing through one-on-one meetings and frequent feedback sessions. Secondly, let them know that their growth and development is important. Present a plan with benchmarks and outline what their career with your company could look like in the future.
Millennials are keen on learning so explore online workshops and other educational opportunities where they can increase their knowledge and add value to your business.
9. Simply Ask
Millennials aren’t shy about sharing their opinions. Ask what makes them happy in the workplace and how you can help them succeed. They might have some great ideas you can use to move forward or a fresh perspective you didn’t consider.