In case you hadn’t noticed, there has been something of an evolution in the workplace over the course of the last decade. This is often attributed to the pace of technological advancement and the emergence of remote communication techniques, which have empowered freelancing and create a market where 40% of all US workers are expected to be self-employed by the year 2020.
While this is key contributing factor to the changes we have seen during the last 10 years, however, there are others that are often overlooked. Take the demands and habits of the millennial generation, for example, who are part of a workforce that are far removed from their predecessors. This demographic have showcased diverse working patterns and career development paths, while they are less receptive to standard corporate messaging and traditional retention techniques.
How Your SME Can Attract (and Retain) Millennial Talent in the Modern Age
Intriguingly, this has created a potential competitive advantage for small business-owners, particularly those that operate in industries that are dominated by large corporations. So long as you recognise this and tailor the value proposition that your business offers to millennials, you will find it easier to attract and retain the top talent within this demographic.
With this in mind, here are some steps that will enable you to enhance the appeal of your business among millennial workers: –
Create a Workplace That is Geared Towards Well-being and Fitness
There is a belief that millennials are quite vein, and this is something that some workplaces have explored in order to understand the motivation of the employees. Take The Furniture Market, for example, which recently undertook an experiment to explore just how vein their workforce was and the emphasis that they placed on their physical appearance.
The results underlined that millennial workers tend to take a great deal of pride in their appearance and like to look their best, and this is an important piece of insight if you intend to create an office space that appeals to this demographic.
So how can your SME capitalise on this? Well, aside from installing plenty of mirrors and shiny surfaces in your office, you should also consider establishing a recreational space that includes some rudimentary exercise equipment. Beyond this, make sure that your company immerse employees in ongoing health and fitness initiatives, while also offering reduced gym membership fees as a potential benefit of employment.
Redefine your Benefits Package for Millennials
The latter point is an interesting one to consider, as it taps successfully into the notion that millennials are motivated by far more than their bottom line pay packet. In fact, the range of benefits that you offer them beyond their salary will prove crucial in determining whether or not they want to work for your brand.
This is an ethos that has pride of place in Silicon Valley, where everything free food and pet-friendly policies to nap rooms have been used to meet the ever-diversifying range of millennial demands. This is also something that your small business should look to incorporate into its business model, as you canvas the opinion of your existing millennials and understand what motivates them to work and represent a particular brand.
While the precise nature of your benefits packages will depend on your findings, the key is to think creatively and consider features that enhance the work-life balance of millennials. Similarly, you should strive to incorporate discounts that cut the cost of living for your workers, as this is something that is particularly appealing in the modern age.
Do Away with the 9-5 Schedule
This is an idea that could well be applied across all demographics of workers, but it particularly applies to millennials. After all, this generation is more than happy to change employment roles every two years or so, while they also have an innate understanding of how easily accessible the freelance sector is for those with marketable skills.
To negate this challenge, your small business must offer a flexible working directive to millennial employees, and one that extends beyond basic government guidelines. This directive must empower workers and enable them to assume responsibility for their workload and schedule, while as an employer you can utilise this to develop trust and mutual respect with your workforce.
The nature of this directive will depend on your business and the demands of customers, but the key is to offer as much flexibility to your employees as possible. So, start by determining a flexible method of working that can be sustained within your business, before breaking this down into options and presenting these to your millennial staff.
Then, allow them to determine their preferred working patterns to strike the ideal compromise between individual freedom and business productivity.
Constantly Seek Out Feedback Millennials
If we accept that millennials are typically motivated to change job roles in two-year cycles (the overall average in the modern labour market is a little over four years), then the concept of holding an annual review is woefully outdated. After all, if you wait until the end of your employee’s second year to garner feedback and discuss their development, the chances are they will have already made a decision about their immediate future.
To avoid such issues, your small business needs to assume a far more aggressive approach to holding employee reviews and engaging staff members in two-way conversations. This is an approach has served firms such as IBM well, as the tech giants recently rolled out a system called Checkpoint which encouraged employees to set short-term development goals that were monitored during regular, quarterly meetings.
This not only maintains open lines of communication with your millennials, but it also helps to empower them as a seminal part of their own development. It will also enable you to identify any potential issues that exist as early as possible, creating a positive dialogue that is more likely to keep them immersed with the brand and the business as a whole.