Millennials are much maligned in the press of late, and rather unfairly so. They’ve been called everything from entitled and lazy to demanding at work with an inflated sense of self-importance. But the fact of the matter is Millennials are hard workers too, they just do things a little differently.
By 2020, we expect Millennials to make up 50% of the global workforce. Employers need to act now if they want to attract and retain our most talented workers.
How to attract millennial workers:
- Create purpose
- Think and work as a team
- Embrace flexibility
- Be authentic
- Invest from within
Who are the Millennials?
There are plenty of variations but according to the Pew Research Centre, Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996 who began entering the workplace around the turn of the century.
They’re an optimistic bunch with good self-confidence and assertiveness. They are willing to learn, to adapt, to help the organisations they work for to succeed and are one of the first generations to truly embrace the digital age.
But they’re also far more family-focussed, aware of stress in the workplace and want a better work-life balance, which is ultimately where tensions between them and older generations seem to rise. The Baby Boomers and Gen X who came before them accuse them of caring more about leisure than work and not valuing being present in the office. Millennials on the other hand see no issue with remote working as they're not scared to embrace technology and change.
Why are millennial employees important?
Millennials are part of a stand-up-proud generation, urging change to redefine how we all work. While some commentators accuse them of slacking, there's little evidence to back this up. They are, however, far less likely to want to work the traditional 9 to 5.
They have grown up with different educations and therefore aspirations, which may be why they seem more flexible, motivated and creative. Tapping into this millennial thinking is now vital for any company wishing to keep on-trend with business development. Millennials are not only comfortable with the pace of technology and it's constant development, but they also know how to make the most of it. A stark difference from the generations that preceded them. They are quick to learn, know how to get results efficiently and can help established organisations adapt to the digital age.
How to build a business culture that attracts Millennials
When employees understand their purpose within an organisation, they're typically more fulfilled and thus happier at work. Research from Partners in Leadership suggests that 85% of staff who are content at work feel they take more initiative and 73% believe they are better collaborators.
Making staff aware of why they do what they do and how it fits into the overall company vision should begin from the moment you start recruiting, through the onboarding process and form part of your continual staff-development programme.
This is the most logical process we've seen. By providing clear goals and purpose, employees are far more likely to feel inspired and engaged within the workplace. In fact, studies show that those armed with purpose and guided by compassionate leaders are almost three times more productive.
Teamwork is paramount to culture
As a rule, Millennials function better in more collaborative and clan-like cultures than strict hierarchical structures, so teamwork should play an integral part of your organisational culture.
In the last 20 years, education has seen an upward trend in teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, so new candidates are more comfortable with the concept of teamwork. By providing specific roles for each member of your team, you can really start to play to the strengths of the individual, irrelevant of their age. Stats show that 75% of employers realise the important of teamwork. 39% of those believe that their organisation could do more to attract Millennials.
Think about where you would sit in these figures. Could you be doing more to promote healthy teamwork in your business?
Bend with the business
Your business needs to embrace flexibility if you want to keep Millennials onside. Think and act like a willow tree and help your business survive by bending in the wind. Depending on which stats you snoop into, apparently up to 92% of Millennials want the chance to work remotely and a further 87% would like to plan their own schedule.
Adopting more flexible working patterns isn’t just about pandering to a younger generation. A 2018 study by Deloitte found it contributed to greater productivity, higher employee engagement and better organisational performance as well as improved employee happiness.
Millennials don’t just make business decisions on narrow tenets of profit and growth, they consider them in the context of the wider community, environment and world at large. They will ask what a particular company is doing to reduce its environmental impact or how it can contribute to social change, for example.
To retain millennial talent, you need a good mix of maintaining transparency and authenticity. Be honest with your words and your actions. Why does your company do what it does? Where do your staff fit within this? How do you feel your staff are doing and have you told them this? Providing regular feedback on performance and encouraging ongoing communication rather than a once-a-year performance review can help foster authenticity in the workplace.
Invest in your employees
Millennials don’t just work for financial reward, they are keen on personal development and growth too. They want to learn, make a difference and develop their skills.
By providing on-the-job training, mentoring, on-demand training, continued education and job rotation, you can proactively manage your teams' development. This is turn will help boost their skillset and help with employment engagement and enthusiasm for their role.