There can occasionally be some negativity surrounding the attitudes and values of the modern generation, so to make your workplace more millennial-friendly you should start by leaving the stereotypes at the door and focus on praising individuality. It’s important to understand that as workplace demographics change, workplace practices have to adapt to them. Your goal as an employer looking for millennial talent is to create a working environment that meets their criteria. This involves several variables, from the physical space to creating a positive working environment.
What exactly defines a millennial? The active years of this generation are somewhat ambiguous, but they’re generally regarded as being born between 1981 and 1996. They have unique skills, they’re tech-savvy and are a driving force for positive change. They’re bold, able to enjoy both working in isolation and as part of a team, have a low tolerance for ambiguity in tasks and have the confidence to make their own commands in the workplace. It’s predicted that by 2020, 35% of the global workforce will be millennials.
However they’re often seen as the least likeable generation, usually by their older peers who have described them as “privileged, cocky, entitled, lazy, impatient”, although 3 out of 5 experienced employees say they learnt something from their millennial colleagues.
So why are employers so keen to bring millennials onboard? Companies are continuously finding ways to beat their competitors, which requires investment and recruitment of the very best talent available. Corporate companies, in particular, want to attract top talent to compete within their industries.
In order to do this, adapting the workplace to make it more inviting and appealing to millennials with their all-important unique and tech-savvy skills is important.
In the UK it’s estimated that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be self-employed. But having teammates is still a very effective way of working. Companies can offer the best of both worlds to potential talent if they are willing to adapt and meet flexibility requirements.
In 2010, Starbucks joined many other public-serving companies to offer free WiFi to all customers in its US coffee shops. Since then, you could argue that the company has grown to become the most successful coworking operator today – although, perhaps unwillingly.
Coffee shops have become one of the top destinations for freelancers to while away their working hours with a hot drink, but when they don’t want to spend all day drinking expensive coffee, or feel a bit awkward about WiFi-borrowing etiquette – and working from home is a less than desirable option – freelancers turn to coworking spaces to connect with like-minded people.
Coworking is the most modern approach to working and sharing. A coworking space is usually a shared office space that is structured and designed to provide a creative and collaborative environment for dynamic inhabitants to work without the formal constraints of a traditional office setting. Membership packages resonate well with freelancers as they’re flexible, ranging from per-hour payments to unlimited monthly access.
What’s in it for the co-worker? Freelancers, start-ups and entrepreneurs feel a sense of camaraderie and often find themselves presented with an opportunity for collaboration – simply by sitting next to somebody and striking up a conversation. The support of peers encourages “dreaming big” and increases confidence. It also removes feelings of isolation, as, although working in a solitary way is often something modern freelancers enjoy, it’s still important to have access to that social interaction that’s often missing from the digital nomad way of life.
Even corporate leaders are looking at ways to energise staff using coworking facilities on site. For example, Unilever has spotted an opportunity to attract external talent whilst simultaneously creating another revenue stream by installing their own collaborative workspace in their Singapore office. Level 3 is a space open both to employees as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups from outside the business. This allows them to tick the boxes in terms of attracting talent straight to the door, and users benefit from increasing their chances of their product or service getting noticed by a big company.
Additionally, we’ve previously written on the Easy Offices blog about Microsoft and IBM who also chose to move their employees to coworking spaces. Aside from the obvious appeal of offering a shared working space to attract a modern workforce, they decided that placing their team alongside teams from other companies also opened up an array of possibilities such as skill sharing and the possibility of meeting potential new clients.
So, What Do Millennials Require?
In order to attract a millennial workforce, employers need to think about their main requirements and ways to retain them.
Millennials prefer multiple seating options rather than a fixed desk. A dedicated co-work-like space or at the very least the ability for hot-desking should be installed. Additionally, they rank the freedom to work from other locations quite far up on their requirements, so be sure to allow the opportunity for them to pick up their laptop and work elsewhere when it’s needed. Trust in your employees helps to create a more positive working environment and leads to a happier workforce, which is a necessity for retaining millennials.
43% of millennials envision leaving their job within 2 years. They can be distrusting of company leaders and have a wealth of choices when it comes to employment, so to attract and retain millennials in the workforce, company ethics should be top of the agenda – honesty, encouragement and motivation are key for millennials.
Millennials will be more likely to engage in their work if they receive ample coaching. Management needs to be available to their team members, so they feel that they can address issues quickly and help them to stay focused on their goals. Remember, millennials don’t like any ambiguity with tasks, so it’s important to give them regular opportunities to discuss problems.
The digital generation has grown up with fast access to the internet and as such, have relied on this platform to learn and develop their skills from a young age. But the digital sphere evolves quickly, and every day there’s a new training or skills development opportunity. Ensure you’re keeping up to date with the latest and greatest learning opportunities to keep them engaged. It might also be a good idea to buddy them up with colleagues from another generation, such as Baby Boomers or Gen X, so that they can learn skills and values from each other. You don’t want to alienate your existing workforce.
We’re not just talking pool tables and salad bars! These perks might draw a millennial in during the first instance, but might not be enough to make them stay. Delve deeper into their desires. For example, in the US, it’s reported that nature-loving millennials are moving out of the city into more leafy suburban areas that give them access to cheaper house prices, so offering a contribution towards commute costs would be an attractive and competitive benefit.
Additionally, unlimited holidays are becoming popularised in the UK, with employers finding that allowing their staff to take as many holidays as and when they want, rather than the annual fixed 28 days leads to a more productive workforce:
The freedom to have working hours that fit in with their idea of the perfect work/life balance. It’s expected that 37% of millennials will only stay in a job at an SME for 3-5 years, with 32% claiming that they would leave a job if they felt it didn’t provide them with a good work/life balance. Consider what’s valuable to them – such as the variables listed above – and regularly take the steps to ensure they feel that their work/life balance is even.
Your Hiring Process
Gone are the days when a recruitment agency or job advertisement would be enough to invite numerous CVs and applications. Nowadays, companies must come up with compelling, attractive and unique ways to hire talent and ensure they’re promoting jobs in the right places. According to Your Ready Business:
- 57% of millennials use job search engines to find what they’re looking for, and only 19% of SMEs advertise on them
- 31% of millennials search LinkedIn for jobs, and only 19% of SMEs advertise jobs there
- 51% of millennials search company websites, but 26% of SMEs don’t have one
To attract this talent, improving online visibility and actively using community-based platforms as part of the recruitment process is vital.
Millennials are concerned with work/life balance, positive culture, and require a high interest in their work in order to stay with a company. A company needs to offer work perks, such as flexible working hours, clever technology and giving workers the freedom to be more responsible. Adapting processes, listening to what employees want and continuously improving might stop the talent being poached.
If You Build It, They Will Come
As a company wanting to attract millennial talent, it’s important to adopt an “if you build it they will come” mentality. You need to adapt both the physical working space into a more fluid and dynamic area and update the working culture to create an environment that allows them to nourish their skills and feed their creativity in a safe and motivating workplace. You might even find that reviewing your company processes and workspace has a positive impact across the wider business, leading to improved productivity and a more positive company culture.
Perhaps you’re a start-up or entrepreneur in need of office space? Have you outgrown your bedroom? Consider renting a space from Easy Offices. It’s fast, free and easy to search over 1,700 UK locations to find your future workspace. We’ll advise you on availability, pricing and offers and help you to achieve the perfect space in which to attract your growing workforce. Discover more on Easy Offices.