Entitled. Tech-obsessed. Social-media savvy. Mired in student debt. These are just some of the terms that often accompany descriptions of Millennials. Millennials, those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, can get a bad rap.
But whether you love them or not, millennials are a growing part of the workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three American workers is classified as a millennial, and this generation is on track to become the largest portion of the American workforce. By 2020, Millennials will make up roughly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce.
When hiring millennials, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from: Many millennials came of age during the Great Recession, experiencing sky-high student loan debt and a steep unemployment rate. Not only that, many saw the demise of their parents’ retirement accounts firsthand. After witnessing the destruction of the Great Recession and having the American Dream bubble burst, millennials are looking for something more than just a J-O-B. They’re looking for passion, purpose and growth.
This is good news for small business owners looking to attract talent. Given the right tools and resources, small business owners can capitalize on millennials’ talents and professional capacities. Learn how you can attract and retain millennials with these 5 tips.
- Be a mentor
Millennials in the workplace want to take an active role in the company and make a difference. They want to feel part of the greater good and play an integral role in a company.
According to the Millennial Impact Project, millennials support issues over organizations. In other words, millennials are driven by purpose and causes, and not just institutions. When working with millennials in the workforce, make your mission clear and explain how it impacts others. As a boss, you can take on a leadership role and act as a mentor to millennials who are eager to grow in a position filled with purpose.
- Offer valuable and consistent feedback
When it comes to managing millennials at work, it’s all about giving valuable, constructive feedback. Millennials crave feedback: They want to know how they’re doing and prefer feedback at least monthly. Compared to previous generations, millennials want more feedback which can be a good thing. They’re eager to work, improve and grow and, given the right feedback, they can help support your small business and soar.
- Celebrate work-life balance
In today’s ever-connected world, it’s easy to be “on” 24/7 and have your work-life balance out of sync. But millennials in the workplace are looking for more than just a paycheck — they want flexibility, and strive for work-life balance.
According to a report by PwC on engaging and empowering millennials, “Many Millennials are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life and if they come into an organization and find they’re not getting the full life they want, they will look elsewhere. At the same time, they are willing to compromise: Give them some say in how and where they work, and they will deliver.”
- Play to their strengths
In order for millennials in the workplace to feel satisfied and engaged, they want to be given opportunities to play to their strengths and grow as professionals. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, millennials are the least engaged generation. One potential reason why? Millennials are not working in jobs that showcase their strengths.
As a small business owner, you have a unique opportunity to shape millennials’ positions and cater to their strengths. Instead of sticking to a traditional job description with strict roles, offer flexibility and room to grow. For example, if your employee is good with social media or writing, let them help with your communication strategy. Cater to their strengths so they feel like a part of the team and are invested in your business success.
- Be open to new technology
The internet and social media were cornerstones of many millennials’ upbringing and, because of this, many millennials are hardwired for technology. Millennials in the workplace should have access to technology and resources that make their lives easier. If your systems are out of date, consider getting recommendations from millennials and ask what tools would help them be most productive.
By using these five tips, you can retain millennials in the workplace and keep them happy, all the while growing your business. It’s a win-win situation.