Millennials (born between 1980-2000) overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, according to a Pew Research study population estimate released in April 2016. And while most of this generation leans towards entrepreneurship, some still appreciate working for someone else so long as they are aligned with the things they value. Here are five things you’d be wise to consider when recruiting and retaining Millennials:
1. Social Responsibility – It is more important to a Millennial that an employer stands for something and invests in the community and environment more than it is to simply be a brand name without any real impact on society. Millennials are noted to be self-absorbed, but rest assured they care about the future and are very optimistic. They are not afraid to question the status quo and they certainly don’t run away from the opportunity to call you out if you’re not displaying interest in giving back to the community or protecting the environment.
2. Flexibility – Being stuck in an office 9 to 5 is not appealing to a Millennial. You’ll find them in the break room taking social-media breaks, selfies and checking their phones to keep up with the latest social trends. They get their news from social media vs. newspapers and television. When they’re at work, they want to feel comfortable, not restricted. This includes attire, schedules and freedom to share thoughts and ideas. It’s important to allow them time to be flexible in their working environment, otherwise they’ll feel too restricted and therefore becoming uncommitted to the organization.
3. Freedom to be Creative – Too many rules drown creativity and block employees from tapping into their best self. Many traditional restrictions employers have interfere with their ability to benefit from Millennials. Expecting employees to fit some traditional mold is foolish. Instead, give them the freedom and resources to create the mold. Give them the freedom to create change and be more innovative. They thrive in environments open to collaboration. Working in cubilcles and isolated environments do not work well for them. If you want your business to continue to grow, you must be willing to find out how to reach, retain and leverage the Millennial generation. Not considering this could be detrimental to organizational sustainability.
4. Diversity – Millennials are very receptive to other cultures because they appreciate the influence other cultures have on the American way of life. According to a Pew Research Center survey, Millennials are the most racially diverse generation in U.S. History. Pew notes, this is largely due to the Hispanic and Asian immigrants coming into the U.S. for the past half century now becoming adults. An organization that does not embrace cultural and racial diversity is not an environment fitting for Millennials.
5. Honesty – Dishonesty is a big deal breaker when it comes to Millennials. They are not easily forgiving and are very much against dishonesty and inauthenticity. When it comes to purchasing and interacting with others, they focus on building trust and at any sign of un-trustworthiness you’d be wise to know that they’ll leave in a moment’s time. Even though they are not easy to trust others, they are very loyal once they do. Once you can build trust they will not only invest their skills, knowledge and energy, they will put a significant amount of energy into getting others to become more engaged and invest too.
Being more of a mentor or a coach instead of a drill-sergeant is ideal when working with Millennials. Traditional workplace rules do not work for this generation. As a leader or manager, you must give them the opportunity to be more creative and flexible; but most of all, you’ll need to build trust. Keeping these things at high priority can change your entire business for the better.
Oh and if you’re wondering how I know this about Millennials…its because I happen to be one of them! 🙂