Today’s post was written by Laura Gayle, author of the blog Business Woman Guide. I am pleased that she has contributed to Omega HR Solutions. Check out her blog site for more interesting information.
Millennials are now the largest population in our workforce, having reached this milestone in 2016 when they surpassed the numbers of Gen X, according to Pew Research. The age that defines a millennial varies a bit depending on who you’re talking to or what survey you’re reading, but generally, this group is composed of people born between 1981 and 1996.
Today, millennials are among the most socially conscious, tech-savvy, and innovative employees in the U.S. workforce. If you want to hire millennial talent, you’ll want to create an appealing and attractive workplace they’ll flock to. If not, you’ll probably lose these workers to your competition who are creating millennial-friendly workplaces. Unlike previous generations, millennials value a healthy work-life balance and are choosy about their workspaces. You should also know they are willing to job-hop to find a fulfilling position that meets both their personal and professional goals.
If you are looking to attract and retain top millennial talent, here are some things you should be considering to make your organization a more millennial-friendly workplace.
Millennials definitely don’t like to be boxed in, whether by hours, workspace, or assignments. As an employer, you’ll want to provide them with the greatest flexibility you can. In return, you’ll see higher productivity and a stronger morale which, ultimately, leads to better profitability and success for your organization. A study conducted by Bentley University found a whopping 77 percent of millennials believed flexible work hours made them more productive. And flexibility can be offered in numerous forms; many of the suggestions below are rooted in the concept of flexibility and choice.
Proximity to work
Millennials are interested in finding and choosing solutions to environmental problems. As a result, they are more likely than other generations to use public transit, walk, bike, or ride-share to work. They highly value a short commute, so proximity is a biggie. If you’re planning to move offices, choose a location that is in a multi-purpose area where people work, live, and play. The availability of nearby apartments or other housing is especially attractive.
You might be able to widen your workplace appeal by offering:
- A transportation subsidy benefit.
- A bike rack or other storage area.
- A dressing or shower room for employees to freshen up after walking or biking to work.
You can also consider offering the option to work from home a few times a week. Remote work is a growing reality in the modern workplace.
The concept of cubicles is so passé. Forget those flimsy walls, tear them down and redesign your space to be more inviting, open, and collaborative. Other modifications you might want to consider are:
- Open and flexible seating. Millennials like flexibility and their ideal spaces allow them to move beyond a desk should the mood strike. Throw in some couches, shared work tables, a café-type setting, or even some beanbag chairs.
- Add some quiet nooks for workers to have some privacy should they desire it.
- Include a “homey” and inviting vibe.
- Replace fluorescent fixtures with natural lighting.
- Build an outdoor workspace, such as a courtyard or benches near a garden.
Essentially, you want to design spaces that enable employees to move around and be more comfortable. Millennials are also health-conscious, so they’ll be thinking about things such as avoiding repetitive stress injuries. Oh, and definitely don’t forget the Wi-Fi. You’ll absolutely need a provider who can provide fast, updated equipment, and reliable service.
Offering a fun, collaborative, and friendly work environment is one step toward offering a better work-life balance, but smart employers take it a little further. Things you can consider include:
- Ample paid time off.
- Corporate-sponsored volunteer activities (offering employees routine times during which they can do good in the community while on the clock).
- The fluidity to work from home or take working vacations. Millennials are always online, anyway, and don’t necessarily separate work and life the in the same way previous generations have done.
In many ways, millennials have redefined the meaning of work-life balance. If you want to align with that, thinking outside the box will help you see how mutually beneficial that flexibility can be.
Communication is a vital part of any organization, and millennials prefer digital methods of contact. Forget days full of phone calls or back-to-back, face-to-face meetings in conference rooms. Invest and adapt your company towards using applications like Slack, Skype, and email. Millennials thrive on digital communication.
Employee development and training
Offer training that will benefit both your employees and the workplace like one-on-one coaching, first aid and CPR certification, and other career development training. Millennials are big on expanding their knowledge base, so anything you can offer in this area will be appreciated.
Thanks to workplaces like Google, Facebook, and other high-profile companies that have touted their unconventional employee perks, millennials have latched onto these ideas and are drawn to employers that offer them. Food is always an appealing perk. Think on-site café (don’t forget the healthy food options!), company chef, and coffee bar. Onsite healthy food and drink options are at the top of millennials’ list of desired perks. Other things you might want to bundle into your workplace are games and holiday gift exchanges.
Emphasis on health and wellness
Millennials put a big emphasis on health and wellness in their daily lives. Perks that fall into this realm will be an appealing part of your employment package. Some benefits you can offer include:
- Free massages, or yoga and meditation classes.
- Group discounts or free gym memberships (or an on-site facility if space permits).
- Health insurance discounts for staying fit and healthy. Most millennials are probably comfortable using tracking apps, and some insurance companies will offer a break on premiums in exchange for wearing FitBits or similar devices.
These are just a handful of ideas you can use to make your organization appealing to millennials, but the possibilities are endless. Be creative!
In 2018, the millennial population dominates the workplace, and by 2025 it’s projected that they may comprise 75 percent of the workforce population. The up-and-coming Gen Z’ers likely will find many of the same things appealing. It makes sense to implement workplace updates now: They will help you not only attract top talent, but also retain today’s and tomorrow’s workers.