Millennials kind of get a bad rap when it comes to their role within the workplace. Many like to characterize them as whiny, entitled, spoiled, and generally unpleasant to work with. While it may be true that some millennials are like that, the same can be said for any generation of workers. Painting a whole group with a broad brush like that is simply unfair.
The one thing that may be true, however, is that millennials do have a different way of approaching their jobs. Many are finding it difficult to find fulfillment out there in the business world. Is it any wonder up to 93% of millennial workers are interested in learning about other jobs? Retaining your millennials is proving to be difficult, and considering that by 2025, up to 3 quarters of the global workforce will be made up by this demographic, tapping into what empowers them will be key in keeping the best workers at your organization.
1. Proper Work/Life Balance
Millennials don’t want to spend the vast majority of their lives stuck in an office, hunched over a computer all day. They understand the need for hard work, but they also want to have a separate life outside. That’s why you need to help them maintain a proper work/life balance, making sure they have free time to pursue other interests outside of work. This can help a person mentally, physically, and emotionally. It gives them a chance to unwind and release pent-up stress. As Shelley Meszoly, the Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Fairmont Southampton (Bermuda) puts it, “My younger staff will work their rear ends off for me when they’re here, but they’re also all about having their nights and weekends entirely free and clear.” Don’t dominate their lives, and they’ll give you that much more in return.
2. Chances for Job Growth
Like many employees, millennials want the opportunity to grow in their jobs. So don’t be afraid to give it to them. Without a chance to test their skills and stretch outside their comfort zone, millennials will likely not feel challenged. As a result, they are more likely to search for that challenge elsewhere. Feel free to give them more responsibilities. Many millennials crave that chance. You should also provide a clear pathway for career advancement within the organization. If no clear path is present, they may choose to find another job, even if they like your business.
3. Workplace Culture
It’s not just about the type of work millennials are doing, it’s about where they work as well. You may provide good work/life balance and plenty of perks, but if the environment they work in is stifling and uninspiring, they’ll likely react negatively. Work to improve workplace culture through an open, welcoming atmosphere that encourages teamwork and collaboration. Productivity and creativity can improve in response. The founder and CEO of NRPR Group, Nicole Rodrigues, attests to this, saying millennials “want a job that can pay their bills and spark meaningful conversations with their friends. Incorporating team-building practices such as work-remote Fridays, company outings, charitable projects and local networking can enhance the creative culture of your company. If your employees are able to enjoy their time during work hours, you’ll see that they’ll find value in their job outside of just their paycheck.”
4. Adopt Technology
Technology has become vital for business success, and no generation is more prepared to incorporate it into their jobs than millennials. They also love adopting the latest tools available, so if your organization has fallen behind in that area, that may only serve to frustrate your millennial workers. Companies need to be up to date with the latest trends and be eager to adopt new technologies. You can also encourage millennials to come up with their own tech solutions. Perhaps they invent a new app to help them do their job or discover a useful cloud service. Open yourself to innovation, and you’ll find that millennials will be leading the charge.
5. Cultivate Empathy
Business isn’t just about the bottom line, at least not anymore. Millennials don’t want to be a part of a company whose only concern is making money, they want to be part of something bigger. They want to make a difference and be a force for positive change. This characteristic shouldn’t be ignored; in fact, it should be cultivated. As James Schmachtenberger, co-founder of the Neurohacker Collective, states, “Valuing empathy as a core principle of their products, services, work environment and mission is essential. It would be nice to think people’s own conscience compels them to do these things. But regardless, the market itself is beginning to value these things more. Millennial culture is demanding more humane work environments and business models that are a net positive for the world.” By harnessing and promoting this energy, companies will make big strides in helping their millennial workers feels empowered.