4 reasons why appeasing your office’s Millennials keeps everyone happy
They’ve been hovering on the horizon for a while now, threatening The Great Office Takeover. Then a few months ago it happened: Y surpassed X as the most populous generation in the workforce. Millennials will make up 70,000 of Auckland’s gainfully employed in the next five years; 50% worldwide. What changes will that bring to your office? Maybe none – if you so choose. But so choose at your own peril. A recent Great Place to Work survey revealed that Millennial-heavy companies are, on average, 14% more innovative. This is not only because they’re filled with fresh blood, but because they’re filled with fresh thinking – and this benefits everyone.
1. See your hierarchical company structure? Flatten it
90% of the 1000 Millennials surveyed in this 2011 study said that their greatest work want was “a feeling of community”. They also said that they wanted to work “with” people, not “for” them. This kind of attitude is often read as entitlement, but here’s another interpretation: Millennials want to sit in the boardroom with you because they actually want to contribute something meaningful to your company. Why not let them?
Why this is good for everyone in your office: Businesses can’t, in all seriousness, list “innovation” and “hierarchy” in the same company manifesto. Millennials are far more likely to challenge the status quo, and question the validity of processes. Creative industries have always known this. So take your cues from the industry of the eternally round table; let everyone sit around it and watch the collaboration, creativity – and profits – flow.
2. Care, there and everywhere
A recent Bentley University study found that a company’s ethics are important to 95% of Millennials, with a quarter of them caring most about an office’s environmental focus. Even if this isn’t a particular interest of yours right now, if you’re interested in attracting the best people, you should make it one.
Why this is good for everyone in your office: The 2014 IBM Institute of Business Value Study proved it’s not just Millennials who care. “Helping to solve social and environmental challenges” was found to be a career goal for 22% of Millennials, 20% of Gen X-ers, 23% of Boomers – and number two on the priority list for everyone. As for how this all translates into profits, in 2014 Colmar Brunton found that 90% of New Zealanders feel it’s important to deal with ethically and socially-responsible companies.
3. Upgrade everything
The offices running the most outdated software are often the same ones who complain of low productivity. But c’mon, you gotta give the kids their toys – really, it’s in your best interests. New Zealanders spend an average of two working days a week scrolling through the internet, but Millennials spend 35% more time than that – little wonder, as they’ve never worked in a time before it existed. But, because of this complete integration with their devices, they’re also the best equipped to adapt to technological changes – a huge advantage to any business.
Why this is good for everyone in your office: Bring in the upgrades, the ones that will set you apart from your competition, and help you to attract the best talent. Millennials will easily adapt to using them and help anyone else who’s struggling with them too.
4. Health = wealth (yours)
Millennials value work-life balance as much as they do free WiFi. A recent study by Millennial Branding revealed that 89% put high importance on choosing when and where they work, with 45% placing workplace flexibility over pay. You can be flexible right? Offering variable hours, telecommuting and even a Work From Anywhere Week can actually increase productivity, while keeping people happy – which has been shown to boost productivity too. And if you can use flexibility as a negotiating tool, well that doesn’t hurt either, right?
Why this is good for everyone in your office: In the eternal battle between presentism and meritocracy, the latter will always win. Millennials aren’t the first to recognise this. But if they are the ones who make business owners realise it too, everyone’s a winner.