This is nothing new. 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 seen the headlines or read the articles 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 teams becoming increasingly more “millennial-heavy.”
Work-Life Balance, Reimagined
A common topic up for discussion in the workplace is around the traditional 8-hour work day. Millennials have grown up in a world where their parents typically worked between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, spending large chunks of their time in between commuting.
With the rise of technology in business, people are realizing 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; more employers should be offering options like working remotely or from home. Employees should obviously reciprocate and ensure work is being completed, well and on time, communicating the necessary details, but this change can both save money, and keep your millennial employees happy.
Loyalty on Both Sides
Millennials and serial job-hoppers normally 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 undergo a certain change. Companies like Google started sharing new office concepts, with open layouts and bright colors. Some companies looked to transform offices further, ditching cubicles for beanbag chairs, adding giant slides instead of stairs, always having an assortment of snacks in the breakroom or areas dedicated to employee ping-pong or foosball.
While these are all fun ideas, millennials don’t want them as much as they want benefits; they want benefits like health or dental insurance, steady retirement plans, and help. 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.