As one generation moves closer to retirement, a crop of new, young professionals enters the workforce. So why has there been so much emphasis on the millennials in the workplace lately? You’ve probably read or heard rumors about millennial laziness, narcissism, and wavering loyalty. You may have also seen statistics like millennials making up 35% of the workforce by 2020, or 75% by 2025. So, what are you supposed to do as an employer or manager when those you will be working with, leading, and hiring have such negative stereotypes?
You make an effort to understand them better because while stereotypical millennials exist, they are not the rule. Overcoming these stereotypes and reaching a common understanding of workplace expectations and long-term goals is key to leading a successful team. Especially with organizations becoming increasingly more “millennial-heavy.”
Work-Life Balance, Reimagined
A current topic for discussion in the workplace surrounds the traditional 8-hour workday. Millennials have grown up in a world where their parents typically worked between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. Additionally, they also spent large chunks of their time commuting.
With the rise of technology in business, people realize there may be other options available. Between cell phones, tablets, and laptops, we have never been more connected. Web conferencing has become more stable and consistent, allowing for meetings across vast distances.
The need to be physically present in the office has become smaller recently, and more and more employers are offering options like working remotely or from home. As an employer, you may be surprised at the increase in productivity! And as an added bonus, it will save time and please employees of all generations.
Loyalty on Both Sides
Millennials and serial job-hoppers typically go hand-in-hand. Stereotypically, they move from one job to the next, only looking to further their own careers. As an employer, you want to hire people who will stay. You invest a lot of time and money into this process, from the job search to their training. All of this is lost when someone walks out the door for another role. How do you avoid the revolving door that is so commonly associated with millennial employees?
You treat them like a person, and not a number. A study by Capital Group revealed that 67% of millennials say being loyal to their employer is important to them, a figure that lines up previous generations. Millennials are more likely to stay long-term when their employer shares their values and desires for long-term personal development. If your business struggles to retain young talent, it may be less about their work ethic and loyalty, and more so a testament to how you treat your employees.
They Want Benefits, Not Foosball Tables
During the late 2000s and early 2010s, the office landscape began to experience a shift. Companies like Google started sharing new office concepts, with open layouts and bright colors. Some companies looked to transform offices even further. They ditched cubicles for beanbag chairs, added giant slides instead of stairs, and offered a constant assortment of snacks in the breakroom or areas dedicated to employee ping-pong or foosball.
While these are all fun ideas, they aren’t actually that valuable to millennials. Your employees want benefits like health or dental insurance and steady retirement plans. The stress associated with being unable to pay their debt or retire one day hang heavily on a millennial’s mind. Solutions to these problems will attract and keep top talent, as opposed to that foosball table in the break room.