How to Create a Millennial-Friendly Workplace
The United States is home to more than 80 million Millennials — aka Generation Y, or people born after 1980 — and, by some estimates, over half of them have already joined the workforce. These young professionals tend to be tech-savvy, flexible, and affordable; however, if you want them to work for you over the long term, you’ll need to create a workplace environment that suits their values. Here’s how to do that.
- Maintain a casual atmosphere. Millennials tend to be alienated by formalities such as business suits and job titles. According to MTV’s “No Collar Workers” survey, young professionals seek a workplace where they can be themselves, jeans and all. Make an effort to cultivate an informal, social workplace where younger employees will feel comfortable.
- Focus on results, rather than rules and procedures. The recruiting firm Mom Corps found that younger professionals were significantly more likely than older ones to say that workplace flexibility was a key factor in choosing an employer. In fact, 18 to 34 year olds were willing to sacrifice nearly 14 percent of their salaries for such a privilege. Millennial workers love the ability to do work when and where it makes the most sense for them, whether that’s at the office at 10 a.m. or at a coffee shop at midnight. Instead of requiring employees work during set office hours, set specific deadlines and milestones — and let your employees decide how and when the work will get done.
- Invest in the latest technology. Outdated gear won’t cut it for younger workers. According to a recent survey by Accenture, more than half of all U.S.-based Gen Y workers say office technology is a key component in choosing an employer. If you want to entice younger employees to join your team, give your staff access to the latest computers, smartphones, and tablets.
- Don’t block social media. Social media policies can be important, but to make your workplace welcoming to younger employees, let them use Facebook. According to a 2011 Cisco survey, 56 percent of Millennials won’t work for a company that bars social media.
- Listen to their ideas. Many Gen Y workers have been raised in environments where their parents acted more like friends than authority figures. As such, they expect the same sort of open relationships with their bosses. In the MTV survey, 90 percent of respondents said they wanted their bosses to listen to their ideas. You don’t need to incorporate all of their suggestions, but by responding to their suggestions, you’ll demonstrate that you respect them as co-workers.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.