You can’t put a label on them and you can’t run a business without them. As the largest generation in the workforce, what millennials want from their workplace has quickly become a priority for today’s small business owner. Ranging in age from 18 to 34, millennials live a lifestyle different from the current Gen Xers who, born between 1965 and 1981, are now concerned with paying mortgages, raising their children and saving for retirement. To attract (and hold onto) millennial employees, entrepreneurs need to convince these non-conformist, anti-label, fulfillment-seeking workers to take a chance on their companies.
According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, the top drivers of millennial employee engagement are making workers feel valued, confident, productive, recognized and positive about the work they do. As a leader, you must be able to communicate your vision and motivate your team to create a successful work environment for millennials. Here are five tips to help your business attract millennial employees.
- Collaborate: Not raised with the climbing-the-corporate-ladder-no-matter-what-the-cost mentality, millennials work well in teams and feed off the enthusiasm of their fellow workers. Encouraging competition and pitting one employee against another for promotion will only turn millennials against you and your company.
- Contribute: Your position as the leader of your company comes with the responsibility of not only making money, but also creating a positive force in the world. As consumers, millennials are loyal to brands that show social responsibility; as employees, they want to work for a company with the same values. Without a socially responsible approach to business, you won’t attract any millennials to your team. Because of social media, millennials are constantly bombarded with stories of negative forces in the world and of those heroes making a positive difference. Millennials wants to work for a purpose-driven company and an inspiring leader.
- Communicate: Because millennials are the early adopters of everything tech, you’ll need to make your company flexible and open to new ways of organization and communication. Communicating by email might seem as slow as sending letters by postal mail to millennials. After all, they’re used to getting instant information and answers from their mobile devices. Instead of old-fashioned approaches, think instant messaging, live chat and project management platforms for communicating to your staff. Be open to suggestions from your millennial tech experts about new technologies that could help your business run better.
- Flex: Wanting work-life balance is not a new concept, but for millennials, it may not mean the same thing as for older generations. The line between work and life is blurred for millennials, who want a job flexible enough to accomplish what needs to be done on their terms as well as yours. For example, millennials like to travel and don’t mind if that means doing a little work while they’re on the road. When you give millennials the opportunity to work remotely or choose their own hours, they’ll be more engaged with your business, both on and off the clock. Show millennial employees you’re willing to work with them to give them the freedom they need to attain their personal goals.
- Educate: Millennials expect more from a job than just a paycheck. They want a job that gives them a sense of purpose and where they can make rapid progress in career skills and development. No one wants to stagnate in a job position and millennials won’t stand for it, nor stay in it. Be more than a boss to your millennial staff—be a mentor and a coach. Take the time to develop a culture of education, conversation and learning in your company. Sending millennial employees to industry training events and conferences, pairing them with older mentors in the company, and cross-training them in multiple job duties will help them learn—and that benefits both them and your business.