Millennials, now officially the largest generation in the workforce, are shaking up the way we work. They’re hard working, innovative, ambitious agents of change. And their fresh outlook on the way we approach problems can have game-changing effects on a business, particularly at a startup striving to solidify its place in the market. Want to harness the unique powers of millennials at your startup? Start with these hacks:
Make Work Mean Something
Give your employees the chance to make an impact through volunteer opportunities outside the office, but also find ways to make them realize how they impact the company and industry as a whole. Too often, people see their everyday responsibilities as rote tasks and don’t realize the wider impact they have.
Whether it is highlighting how IT’s routine upkeep tasks keep the business running smoothly and efficiently or how HR drives the overall culture and quality of the company through their hiring and retention efforts, it’s important to celebrate each and every employee’s contributions to the company.
Provide High-Tech Tools
Millennials are almost inherently tech savvy, which can be a huge benefit for an employer. The right tools can increase productivity and effectiveness on a huge scale — and millennials are keen to adopt them. Nearly half of millennials would rather have high-tech perks like IoT, augmented reality, or AI-assisted features over non-tech perks like free food or an office dog, according to The Future Workforce report commissioned by Dell and Intel.
Aside from our very own strategic sourcing solution, a few of our favorite tools include Slack, Google Docs and Basecamp. Tools like these are easy (and pleasant!) to use, and they help us streamline processes, automate tasks and keep our team on track. Since my co-founders and I started the business, we knew that allotting the necessary funds and time to find innovative tech tools was a huge priority for us. And I can truly say that it has paid off in terms of creating an effective day-to-day work experience for our employees, as well as allowing them to harness new methods of innovation that you may not have tapped before.
Offer Outside-the-Box Support
Another millennial trait that I admire is an insatiable hunger for learning. Respect and cater to this and don’t be afraid to step outside of the box to do so. For example, if you think an employee from your design team would contribute some added value to an IT-centric project, don’t shy away from putting them on it just because of their title. More often than not, your millennial employees will take on a new challenge and chance to learn with excitement for all it promises to teach them, rather than fear of the unknown.
Back all these learning opportunities up through consistent feedback. Just 21 percent of millennials meet with a manager on a weekly basis, and the majority (56 percent) say they meet with a manager less than once a month, according to a recent Gallup survey. Challenge that less-than-inspiring statistic and meet with your employees often. You’ll be rewarded with more engaged employees who know their strengths and weaknesses and feel that they are supported to take on whatever comes their way.
Let Them Work on Their Own Terms
Millennials tend to be task-oriented, rather than time-oriented, and want to complete those tasks on the schedule that works best for them. Now, this absolutely does not mean that millennials are horrible at deadlines — it actually often means the exact opposite. Some people function best in the morning, and some late at night. Either way, millennials want the freedom to complete tasks during the hours that work for them, rather than being confined to a traditional 9-to-5 job.
A survey by FlexJobs found that over 50 percent of millennials want to work flexible hours, and a colossal 85 percent said they would like to telecommute 100 percent of the time. Here at Scout, we make sure that our employees are set up for success — quite literally — and that includes trusting them to work in the ways most conducive to getting their job done. Everyone is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach just isn’t going to cut it.
Millennials may represent the changing face of the workforce, but there’s still a lot we have to learn about them. High turnover rates are a testament to this. Let’s do something about it: Start by tapping into these millennial hacks. Not only did they help my organization create a better employee experience that keeps millennial team members around for longer, but it also helped set up my startup for business success. And I think they can do the same for you.