Everyone is talking about millennials: How do they work? What do they want? How do we hire them? How do we keep them happy?
All these questions are for good reason: in a decade they will make up three quarters of our workforce.
But if your plan is to win them over through "cool" incentives -- like egg-freezing, pajama parties or Segways -- think again. This group is likely to avoid anything that seems phony.
Over the past ten years, our team at O2E Brands has grown to over 50 per cent millennials and we are currently in the process of hiring 200 new staff -- the majority of which will be from this age group.
If you're in the same boat, I have one simple piece of advice: do less.
Here are some simple ideas that have been instrumental in helping us hire and retain the right people -- who happen to be millennials.
Define the Big Idea
While it may seem surprising, many businesses do not properly communicate to their staff the why behind the work. In a recent survey, only 31 per cent of workers said they know what their company's mission is.
If you are clear from the outset about what you do and why you love doing it, you will attract employees who share your passion. Here at O2E Brands, it's all about people. It's the philosophy we all live by -- it's written on the wall at our head office and the driving factor behind everything that we do.
A recent study showed that 44 per cent of millennials were ready to leave a job because it lacked skill development opportunities, and two-thirds wanted to be their own boss. Clearly this generation places priority on controlling their own destinies.
We encourage our rockstar employees to take advantage of our flexible and autonomous work environment and to present innovative ideas to make our company better. It is often these staff members who work their way up the corporate ladder, or into first-time business ownership. We encourage and support this kind of professional development, and it keeps people around.
Work Hard. Play Hard.
Millennials do not mince words when it comes to their desire for work-life balance. They place higher value on spending time with family and friends than previous generations, so it's no coincidence that they are flocking to companies that offer autonomy, flexible schedules and generous benefits.
In the end, the most attractive trait a company can have is authenticity: people will gel with your culture if it's real. Millennials will align themselves with a company with core values that mirror their own. So remember that while the superficial won't get this generation through the door, substance will make they stay.
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Find and foster different mentors for your varying skillsets. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been before to various acquaintances, friends, and professionals through our various social networks, which can be a huge source of support in a sometimes formidable technological world. Seeking out the help of someone a little bit more seasoned is one of the best things a millennial can do (just make sure to stay in touch with them). Having some outside perspective can help you sort out what you’d like to do in your life.
Everyone who has something to learn also has something to offer. While millennials are often branded as being a tech-savvy generation, that is often a simplistic view. Millennials do offer that, but, in many cases, they offer a far more realistic answer to certain situations. That’s why offering to mentor someone in the basics of your strong suit can be so useful for you and your mentorship student. By simply opening up your mind and thought process to another person, you’d be surprised how much both parties end up learning from it.
Despite widely reported issues surrounding our average student and personal debt, millennials aren’t actually doomed to a life of financial ruin. In fact, nearly half of all people in their 20s have started saving their money in a dedicated account. It turns out that the biggest hurdle facing millennials and their money isn’t a lack of ability when it comes to saving money, but a lack of trustworthy/good advice when it comes to money matters. To put it simply: we need to stop viewing our parents as the sole authorities on financial advice in our lives. Various studies show that millennials tend to struggle with finding a good source to provide financial guidance, and ultimately end up standing in place. We’re not saying to cut out the opinions and advice of your folks; they probably have some great tips and tricks (and, you know, respect your elders and all that) for you. But that advice should be paired with firsthand financial knowledge, and that’s on you to seek out and learn. You’ll be thankful that you took the initiative to understand (and control) your financial future, and so will your family back home.
Do you like Netflix? Of course you do. Do you like sleeping? You don’t even need to answer that. Are these in short supply sometimes? Now that’s the most problematic bit. One of the things that people often overlook in their lives is scheduling a block of “Me Time.” It seems like we stretch ourselves pretty thin in a lot of ways (work, relationships, home care, etc.) and when we crash, we crash hard. This makes dealing with the overwhelming nature of life and its endless possibilities extra tough. If your brain is in overdrive, how can you make a coherent choice about anything? It’s not impossible, but it’s still hard. That’s why a diverse array of business leaders and industry thinkers have been examining how we live our lives, and they’ve all come to the same conclusion: the work-life balance needs to be rebooted, and we can start by severely limiting how much work and digital noise we bring home with us. This is why it’s so important to budget out proper rest and relaxation time time for napping, relaxing, and binge-watching the shows in your Netflix queue. For every step you take towards realizing yourself and your dreams, make sure to take a moment to recharge and congratulate yourself for the forward momentum you’ve generated. You’re not being a Lazy Millennial; you’re ensuring that you’re not headed towards a midlife crisis down the road. Maybe the older generations could stand to take some advice from you for a change. The road map to Being A Millennial is being written every day, and there’s no right or wrong way to navigate this relatively unique point in history. But as long as you’re pushing forward and keeping your dreams in sight (no matter what form those dreams may take), you’re on the right path. Good luck!
Follow Brian Scudamore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/brianscudamore