Attracting Millennials in the Workplace

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No matter their industry, all managers need to know how to make their companies inviting for ambitious, skilled millennial employees. From establishing mentorship opportunities to providing improved work-life balance, discover seven effective ways for managers to attract millennials in the workplace.

A millennial employee.

Customized Job Titles and Descriptions

While employees from all generations may want to work their way to the top by rising through the ranks and taking on executive positions, millennials may not necessarily want such cookie-cutter job titles or descriptions. Instead, millennial employees have increasingly indicated that they prefer more flexible roles with ample room for customization.

Such a fluid organizational structure has the potential to be difficult for many businesses to adopt, but as Adam Smiley Poswolsky explains in Fast Company, introducing a more flexible management system could be an important first step toward attracting millennials. For example, Zappos has adopted a management system that does away with the traditional hierarchical method for decision-making. Instead, the online shoe retailer invites a wider variety of employees and teams to weigh in on key company decisions.

More Responsibilities

Millennial employees may tend to seek out more creative ways to reach the peaks of their careers, but that does not mean they want fewer responsibilities along the way. Instead, as Micah Solomon writes for Forbes, many millennial employees prefer to share the burden, taking on more responsibilities than ever before.

In many cases, this desire for more agency and added accountability stems from the type of parenting that the majority of millennial workers experienced. Since many have always enjoyed a certain level of personal empowerment, they often expect to have the opportunity to contribute more at work.

Even managers who are not yet accustomed to encouraging employees to take on more tasks and greater responsibilities can find effective ways to engage millennial workers. By delegating more tasks and creating group projects, managers can help millennial employees feel fulfilled without compromising the company’s bottom line.

Mentorship Opportunities

While some millennial employees may want to make their own way in the work world, most want to learn from their superiors before applying their unique visions. In fact, millennials are increasingly searching for opportunities to partner with mentors as they pave their career paths.

To meet this need, managers can consider developing company-sponsored mentorship programs that help employees at all levels improve their skills, learn from each other, and navigate the organizational hierarchy more effectively. Though establishing such a program requires resources and commitment, it could benefit both executive-level employees and newer workers alike, thanks to the two-way exchange of ideas and improved lines of communication.

Increased Transparency

Perhaps one of the most notable differences between millennial employees and Generation X or baby boomer employees is that the newer generation of workers demands much higher levels of corporate transparency. In many ways, this aligns with millennials’ desire for more responsibilities at work. Not only do many want greater involvement on the job, but they also want to understand what happens behind the scenes and why.

To increase transparency in the workplace, managers may need to consider strategies for improving communication channels between upper management and employees at every level. This has the potential to increase millennials’ understanding of company visions and policies and may even drive employee loyalty. Writing for Forbes, Sarah Landrum also suggests that companies consider making their hiring, recruiting, and even salary structures more transparent, as this can boost trust among millennials.

Ethical Employers

Most millennial employees want to feel confident that they can trust their employers and that they can fully support their companies’ missions. To make this work, however, organizations have to prioritize ethical practices and be prepared to turn their promises into actions.

To create the type of organization that millennials want to work for, managers can consider working closely with those in the C-suite to devise socially responsible initiatives and environmentally friendly programs. Managers are likely to find that they can have the biggest effect on millennial employees by implementing important short-term solutions in local communities and planning for long-term strategies on a global scale.

Work-Life Balance

Unlike some of their predecessors, millennials tend to prioritize a healthy balance between work and life. That means they may want the option to work flexible hours to accommodate family obligations, or they may want a more forgiving paid time off policy. While an unlimited vacation policy may not be possible for every organization, companies can consider offering a healthier balance between financial compensation and other benefits. As Solomon explains in Forbes, at some level, many millennials are willing to sacrifice higher salaries for improved work-life balance.

Remote Workspaces

While some workplaces have embraced physical changes, such as a shift to open-plan offices or the introduction of social spaces, most millennials seem to prefer flexible workspaces. Though some millennial employees work best in a standard routine with a set schedule and a designated desk, others demand the opportunity to put in their time remotely.

To encourage flexible workspaces without compromising productivity levels or work quality, managers are likely to find value in implementing online collaboration tools and requiring periodic check-ins and reviews. Though working with remote colleagues may not come naturally to all employees, careful monitoring and a goal-oriented strategy could ensure that employees at all levels can adapt seamlessly to more flexible workspaces.

Millennial employees have high expectations for their workplace. For individuals of all generations who are looking to learn the fundamentals of management – including the most effective ways to recruit, retain, and lead their teams – a master’s degree in management can be a valuable first step. Visit the New England College – Master of Science in Management online program to learn more about how an advanced degree could help aspiring managers expand their skillsets and understand how to build strong teams.