Whether you have a start-up company or are trying to breathe new life into an established business, one thing for sure is you’re going to need millennial employees. That’s anyone born between 1980 and 2000 and it represents the most massive segment of society in U.S. recorded history. However, unless your one of them yourself, you’re going to need to understand a little about them before taking them on as employees.
Millennials are broadly defined as narcissistic. Initially that sounds like a negative thing, in a work force it can be good if you’re able to navigate and harness that characteristic in a positive way. Millennials have no need to respect a hierarchy because they basically didn’t have one growing up. Previous generations like Baby Boomers and Generation X took on the Establishment and essentially disbanded it as it had previously been known. Parents from those generations wanted their children to have a better life and feel like they could do anything so that’s what they told their children and of course they believed it.
Instilling self-esteem became paramount and was projected into Millennials with awards, praise, and constant reminders of their value and worth. However, since the rest of the world is not comprised of their parents, Millennials may have a hard time entering the work force to find out that they are indeed not special. Awards are given based upon performance and no accolades are showered for showing up every day.
They live in an environment that is dictated by their peers. This is because they’ve grown up with technology that allows them to be in constant contact with their friends and therefore do not feel the need to interact and learn from people with experience. While all of these traits sound daunting and not particularly desirable in an employee there are ways you can position your company to appeal to and extrapolate the best facets of these traits to propel your businesses interests.
More than anything it is said that Millennials need to experience a sense of fulfillment. What they do needs to matter and produce meaningful results, and also assuage their anxiety that they might be missing out on something better. The latter is a result of being hyper connected to rest of the world and of course something amazing is always going on in one of their peers lives. Growing up with channels like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook have provided them with outlets to broadcast anything. This type of airing of ideas and messages was previously barred by, and limited to huge companies that could pay for broadcast time on traditional channels. Because they’ve seen so many of their peers turn into microcelebrities, they are acutely aware that uniqueness has value.
This highly developed sense of individuality can lead to a lot of creativity because creativity is awarded with likes and followers. Not every position in a company will require creativity so it can be a struggle to offer that outlet as an enticement and to promote retention. You could meet that need by offering some other avenue for creative fulfillment like online workshops or even on site classes that are geared towards Millennial interests. Be aware that these interests are not necessarily going to intersect with your business. Offering a bookkeeping course is not going to help these employees with self-actualization and the need to demonstrate their individual talents.
Millennials can help catapult your business on social media if you’re publishing content they can relate to and be proud to associate with. Inviting these employees to contribute to these channels is a sure fire way to get them to interact with your posts. Feature them in pictures with back stories as to what they are doing and how their efforts bring worth to your company.
Millennials are not known to be loyal to the concept of the company, they are however loyal to people so having management that understand this trait and are able to manage on a relationship level versus a hardline “do as I say” style is going to be extremely critical to your success.
Work/Life Balance is important to all but particularly important to Millennials. In fact unlike their predecessors, they are not willing to put in a 50-70 hour work week just to get the job done. This is because they perceive their parents missed out on important family time and personal development while corporations advanced their bottom line while simultaneously whittling away at the benefits and job security their hard work was supposed to have earned.
Finally, giving your Millenial workforce the freedom of expression in their appearance is amazingly important to them. This should not come as a surprise being that they are characterized as narcissistic. If you have a business that requires some type of uniformity for the benefit of your customer like a restaurant for example, you need to make sure that uniform is something they will proud to wear.
Pride can be the result of an on-trend design and a stylish t-shirt product. It’s really important to consider how your businesses image reflects upon these employees and vice versa. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine if they would go out in the world after work and still wear their uniform because they are proud of where they work or if it’s more likely they would change before being seen by their friends. If it’s the latter, think about what needs to change about your t-shirt design that would make it more fashionable, edgy, or thought provoking.
Attracting and retaining Millennial employees is really important since they make up so much of the current workforce. While there is lot of debate about this particular generation, as a business owner you can’t afford to ignore the massive potential they offer and the fresh eyes and perspective they can lend towards your businesses message and services.