Millennials are an important and valuable part of the workforce; in fact, they’re taking over the workplace. Based on data from Pew Research Center, more than one-in-three American workers are Millennials, and in 2015 they surpassed Generation X to become the largest segment of the American workforce.
Since Millennials have different attitudes towards work, as we discuss below, the challenge for companies and hiring professionals is how to attract and retain them. Monetary compensation and other expensive benefits aren’t necessarily the answer, but opportunities for growth, purpose-building and more could be.
Use these five tips to attract Millennials to your company and retain the ones you have:
1. Provide Clear Opportunities for Growth
Unlike Baby Boomers, Millennials are less likely to stay at the same company for a long period of time. This isn’t due to lack of loyalty. Rather, Millennials have a strong desire to work for an organization where they see an opportunity to grow or climb the leadership ladder.
If it doesn’t look like there’s a clear path for this in their current position, they’re likely to look for the next opportunity: “One of the primary reasons Millennials are more likely to change jobs is because they are not willing to stick around if they do not believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth,” suggests Jeff Fromm, contributor to Forbes.
He continues, “Millennials embrace a strong entrepreneurial mindset and they are often on the lookout for opportunities that can continue to move them up the ladder, even if that means up and out of their current position.”
Organization leaders must help employees understand their role in the company and provide opportunities for growth. Host workshops for employees to learn new skills and take on new challenges and give them access to career resources and courses. Better yet, make it a company goal to hire from within when any new position becomes available, whenever that’s possible. Millennials have many talents – you just have to put them to good use.
Optional job posting detail to include: We provide employees with a variety of learning opportunities, including access to exclusive classes, professional growth training and more.
2. Rethink Your Leadership Strategy
Millennials prefer bosses and leaders who are more like coaches and mentors who show them they’re a valued part of the organization and challenge them to learn. Approaching these younger workers with the attitude and expectations of a coach, rather than the antiquated characteristics of a traditional “boss,” is key to maintaining their engagement, according to employee engagement experts at Achievers:
“If a player on a sports team does badly, the coach may feel frustrated, but he or she is well aware that scolding and criticizing the player is not likely to yield better results in the future. Instead, a coach views failure as a sign that the player needs more training, support, and encouragement.”
You may also consider trading the traditional annual performance review for more frequent, consistent feedback and evaluations. Millennial employees like to know where they stand and are receptive to real-time feedback.
Optional job posting detail to include: We believe in talking—often. So we have one-on-one feedback sessions once a quarter for every employee and their immediate superior.
3. Ditch the 9 to 5 Schedule
While we’re all after the elusive work-life balance, Millennials prioritize this in their job search. They’re more attracted to jobs where they feel they have some control over their schedule. A study on workplace burnout from The Office Club found that there’s a strong relationship between job satisfaction and levels of control and autonomy at work.
Consider how you can you steer away from the traditional 9 to 5 schedule to offer your employees more flexibility. Can you let employees set their own schedule or provide opportunities for remote work? Naturally, there will still be times where you need employees in the office, but the more flexible options you can provide, the better.
Optional job posting detail to include: We work on flex hours, which range from 7 AM to 7 PM. We have required office hours, from noon to 2 PM, and otherwise, you’re free to come in as late as 10 AM.
4. Help Them See Their Purpose
Millennial employees have a strong desire to do work that’s worthwhile: “They look for work that makes them feel important,” according to Amy Adkins from Gallup. “Seventy-one percent of Millennials who strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for and what makes it different from its competitors say they plan to be with their company for at least one year.”
It may be a good idea to communicate your company’s mission and values and how employees fit into the equation to make a difference. Consider building “greater good” into the culture of your company, with volunteer events once a year, for example.
Optional job posting detail to include: We believe in helping the community where we work, so we partake in group volunteer events around the region twice a year. Each employee can also take one extra PTO day each year to work on a volunteer project or help a cause they’re passionate about.
5. Offer Fun Team-Building Activities
Company events and outings aren’t just great to boost company culture, they’ll also help you attract more Millennial employees. Just as they crave a flexible work schedule, millennials want a fun and relaxed work environment and company-wide activities will help to maintain this atmosphere.
First: think about ditching the usual “office happy hour”—who wants to be in the office any later than they have to? Instead, branch out to unique ideas that are engaging, interactive and collaborative. Based on a 2016 hobbies survey, people are most interested in trying rock climbing, yoga, soccer, painting and cooking. See how you can organize group events around these activities and others that you know your employees enjoy.
Optional job posting detail to include: We plan one group event each month—and don’t worry, we don’t stay in the office after hours. In the past, we’ve done paddle boarding, a group cooking class, a scavenger hunt and, the favorite so far, an escape room.
Understanding what motivates Millennials in the workplace will help you attract the right talent. Show them how they can be a valuable asset to your organization and why your business is the ideal place for them to manifest their aspirations or grow into the career they’re planning for themselves.
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Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years has managed a number of employees in her various roles. She now owns her own consulting business and has been featured on Forbes and Business Insider. She regularly writes for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.