The world of work has dramatically changed over the last ten years. The birth of the internet, laptops, the cloud and the growing importance of work/life balance have all played a part in creating a very different working environment to what older generations might be used to.
With these changes in mind you may need to think differently about managing the so-called millennials in your workforce. Millennials or "Generation Y" are those born from around the early 1980's until the year 2000, and they may have different needs and expectations to other employees.
Here are a few ideas for how you might want to manage and support millennials in your business.
Unlike other generations, working remotely or from home is not a novelty for millennials, it is almost expected, so if it is possible to work a day or two from home each week this will certainly attract millennials to your company. However, this shouldn't mean you have to give your employees free reign to do what they want, when they want. Be clear about what you expect from employees when they are working away from the office so that they will know exactly what is required of them in terms of availability and accessibility. If you offer freedom and flexibility to your millennial employees it's almost certain you will be rewarded with productivity and respect.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Millennials are more interested in working for a company they love and believe in, rather than the company paying the biggest salary. Whether it is reducing your environmental footprint, donating money to a cause you care about or offering volunteering leave, all of these show that your company has social awareness. This will not only help improve your CSR standing among your millennial employees but also your customers.
Work/life balance is very important to millennials, so do what you can to show them that you value it too. Whether it is letting them choose their own hours wherever possible, encouraging time-off for volunteering or ensuring everyone takes their full lunch hour, millennials will appreciate being given some freedom and flexibility. Again, you will then find that they take their role and duties more seriously and are more focused and productive when working.
Other generations are used to rewards being given after good work is done, like a bonus after a certain length of employment. Millennials, however, are more likely to expect more regular and less formal benefits, like free fruit or drinks, Friday afternoon beers, a pool table or regular employee social events. Again this reinforces the work-life balance. Bring fun to the workplace to keep your millennials happy, though of course it can be enjoyed by all ages too!
A millennial is likely to change jobs and careers multiple times in their life, so being open to changing roles will help keep them with your company longer. Many will thrive from being a variety of different responsibilities in their job and will grab any opportunity to gain new skills for future work. You could try job swaps, shadowing or mixed project work to add variety to your team’s workload.
Millennials in the workplace can bring lots of energy and creativity to your team, so don't be afraid to nurture this with a little bit more freedom, flexibility and fun!