Millennials currently represent the largest and most distinctive generation in our workforce, with expectations and values that are significantly different from past generations. By 2025, these innovative and tech-savvy workers are expected to comprise more than 75% of the entire workforce. These rising numbers, coupled with the knowledge that nearly 60% of millennials remain perpetually open to new job opportunities, signal an immediate need for organizations to deliver a millennial-friendly workplace culture.
A recent Deloitte Millennial Survey revealed that millennials are now more open to the idea of staying with an employer more than five years, if given the right opportunities. With annual churn rates reaching nearly $30.5 billion in the U.S., organizations have a fiscal responsibility to engage their workforce. So, what strategies can you implement to ensure retention and a millennial-friendly workplace?
Emphasis on Health and Wellness
Learning from mistakes of past generations, millennials consider health and wellness a top priority. Recognizing the value of this priority, thought leaders are investing in their employees’ future by building on-site workout facilities, funding food delivery services that enable healthy eating, providing ergonomic furniture, and encouraging frequent breaks to subvert stress and prevent injury. A healthy lifestyle benefits both employee and employer, cutting unscheduled absenteeism costs (which can range from $2,650 to $3,600 per employee annually) while meeting the millennial worker’s needs.
With health and the environment high on the priority list, it only makes sense that millennials prefer living in close proximity to work. A shorter commute affords them the option to ditch their vehicles and bike or walk to work. To support their endeavors, employers are offering bike storage, showers, and dressing rooms for employees who enjoy a little exercise before and after work.
Unlike past generations, millennials have grown up with cell phones, laptops, emails, and tweets. Technology doesn’t simply represent their present, it’s an integral part of their past and future. Investing in technology fosters collaboration, streamlines processes, and removes the barriers of time and space. If your organization has fought the inevitable, sticking to traditional methods of doing business, now is the time to step out of that comfort zone and invest in the latest technological workplace tools. Attracting and retaining millennial employees is just one of the many benefits.
While earlier generations of workers are more accustomed to working solo, millennials flourish in more collaborative environments. In fact, studies indicate that 88% prefer supporting each other, working collaboratively toward a common goal. To ensure engagement for all personality types, employers are encouraged to employ various productivity strategies. Do not abandon traditional policies; expand on them. Build a flexible workplace culture that ensures everyone access to the tools, space, and people necessary for them to thrive both personally and professionally. And speaking of flexibility…
Flexibility and Work-Life Balance
As previously mentioned, millennials have grown up in an innovative and technologically advanced world. They know nothing different. They have grown accustomed to working wherever they are and whenever it’s necessary. Productivity isn’t limited to the hours of 9 to 5 or to the walls of a cubicle. As a result, this generation is more productive working in a flexible workspace — one that feels less like an office and more like home. Recognizing these needs, thought leaders spanning every industry are abandoning the cubicle and traditional office setting, opting for a more open and collaborative space. Designed to accommodate the needs of differing personalities, open floor plans come with meeting rooms, quiet spaces, and social spaces. Hallways are strategically placed to encourage chance encounters and defined office hours are abandoned.
Studies indicate that 77% of millennials feel that flexible work hours foster a more productive workplace. By embracing a flexible workplace environment, you send the message that you trust your employees. This trust encourages them to do their very best and remain loyal to your mission.
Education and Professional Development
Each generation is a product of their environment. Millennials have grown up in the Information Age, where virtually everything has always been at their fingertips. Recognizing continued education as a clear path to success, they value ongoing training to develop their professional skills. They look to leaders for mentoring and networking opportunities, and they expect to work for a company that always pushes them to learn and grow. And the education doesn’t have to be industry-specific: One-on-one coaching, career development — even first aid and CPR training can all be critical to their personal and professional growth.
Traditionally, benefits packages included health insurance and paid vacation. While those are important components of every “perk package,” the modern employee is looking for more. In exchange, they will work more than an average work week, putting in a minimum of 45 hours per week. They are driven enough to be attached to their devices 24/7, breaking down the idea of traditional office walls. In return, they expect the organizational support necessary to maintain a work-life balance. Responsive company perks include flexible time off, employee hobby funding, and concierge services, with additional resources to ensure successful traveling. Not sure where to begin in developing a balanced benefits package? Consider asking the millennials on your staff.
In 2013, Time magazine labeled millennials the ”The Me Me Me Generation.” The truth is, each generation is a product of its environment. Millennials are not entitled and lazy; the world just works differently for them. They are comfortable enough to confidently stand by their convictions, sacrificing mightily for the greater good when it’s something they believe in. Tap into what makes them tick, and you’ll come up with a hardworking, adaptable workforce that can help lead your company toward significant growth. Flexibility and balance are critical to millennials’ long-term growth and success; their natural next step is seeking out a workplace culture that shares these values.
By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
Insightlink Communications is a leader in full service employee surveys and offers a range of employee survey products and services to fit their client's needs. With over 18 years of experience, Insightlink's reputation has been built on giving organizations the knowledge they need to create effective change using their acclaimed employee research, analytics, benchmarking and survey methodologies. Insightlink's expertise in data collection reporting and analytics takes the pressure off organizations that find data overwhelming and daunting creating reports that are digestible and understandable, simple and easy to understand for organizations of any size and experience level. For more information please contact Lynn Gore at 866-802-8095 ext 705 or visit our website here.