1. Fair Pay & Benefits
Not only are Millennials the largest segment of the population in the workforce, but they are also the largest segment of the population with crushing student loan debt. As of January, the total of student loan debt was a whopping $1.2 trillion (MarketWatch), and is continuously growing. So what are they first looking for in job? M-O-N-E-Y.
Millennials who have been hopping between positions and companies are not doing so because they can’t handle the job; it’s because they aren’t being paid well enough to stick around. Offer Millennials (and all of your employees, for that matter) fair pay and benefits. Millennials want to get paid enough to cover their basic living expenses, and pay down their debt, without having to live in their parents’ basements. That really doesn’t seem like too much to ask, now, does it? Isn’t that what you were looking for when you got your first few jobs? Treat them the way you would want to be treated. Make sure they can pay their bills, get health and life insurance, and they’ll pay you back by sticking around.
2. Provide Training & Growth Opportunities
Millennials were born into the age of tech. They love to learn new things, and are constantly wanting to do whatever it takes to be at the top of their game. Companies have stopped offering good training for entry-level employees; leaving them to figure things out on their own. While Millennials are more than capable of self-teaching, they prefer to be educated by mentors, and other members of the company who have been around the block. They want to be able to perform as best they can, and find that it is more effective to learn from someone who has already been in their shoes.
Opportunities for growth are also paramount. As mentioned in the last point, Millennials’ student loan debt often prevents them from going further in their education. Pushing off Master’s degrees, certifications, and designations is due to a financial investment they just can’t make. Companies who offer tuition reimbursement for Master’s and Doctorate programs, and pay to send their employees to special trainings, and get certifications, will see a return on their investment by employees staying around longer. Millennials will reward your investment in them, and their education, by staying loyal to you.
3. Show Them How Their Work Makes a Difference
Different than any previous generation, the Millennials are globally connected and want to know that their work is making a difference. Whether it has a global impact, or just one on the local community, they want to know that their work is meaningful and will not go unnoticed. Even if they are part of a big team, be sure to educate them on how the work of the team aids the success of the company, and your market. And do note, meaningful does not equate to a great bottom line, or stunning profits. It is having a positive impact on the lives of the consumers or businesses you work with. Look to companies like TOMS, Apple, and Facebook. They all are committed to providing a product that will enrich the lives of their customers, and improve the global community. If Millennials feel connected and know their job is meaningful, they will feel more invested in the company.
This is not just applicable to Millennials. In fact, many Gen Xers have been making a push for flexibility as well. The difference is that Millennials will expect you to have already made the necessary changes to accommodate flexibility in the workplace. Flexibility is not just about time, it is also about location. If their job can be done from home two days a week just as effectively as if they were in the office, give them the option to do that. Not being locked-in to nine to five at the office opens them up to other possibilities. Millennials recognize that working smarter, not harder, is the way to success. If they can accomplish all of their work on their own schedule, and nothing is sacrificed, then let them do it. Not everyone works best at 9:00 a.m. in a cubicle. Some people need to take breaks, or want to be able to go to their kid’s band concert at 3 on a Tuesday. Allowing them to prioritize their lives, and their work, will give you more invested employees who are focused while they are working.
5. Open Communication
There is a common misconception that Millennials need to constantly be praised for their work, no matter how menial. That is simply not true. Millennials are looking for open communication- whether it comes in the form of praise, constructive criticism, or being allowed to share their thoughts in meetings, doesn’t matter.
I have worked for companies with an “open door” policy - meaning that the door is always open for any level of employee to come in and chat with management, or the officers. This encourages ideas and thoughts to be shared in a welcoming, respectful manner. I have seen it in action, and it is effective. Millennials want their voices to be heard, in addition to being recognized, and told how to improve. Keep the lines of communication in your company open, and you’ll find that the Millennials aren’t the only ones who will benefit.
Millennials are not some group of foreign aliens who are entitled, lazy, and always attached to their phones. In fact, if you actually talk to them, listen, and really get to know them, you’ll find that they are bright, hard-working, tech-savvy, and anxious to put their hard work to good use. They want to get out in the world, find their place, and make a difference. Don’t let the stereotypes fool you! This generation is crucial to the future success of your company, and if you don’t use these tips to help attract them to work for you, you’ll find yourself quickly falling behind your competitors.
This article previously appeared on Bright Ideas.