By Jillian Phipps
Millennials are infiltrating the workplace. Is your company ready to take them on?
The millennial generation is often unfairly characterized as entitled and impatient. In reality, these youngsters have plenty of positive attributes that offset the somewhat negative ones. They are masters of technology, knowledgeable, fast-paced, and ready to face new challenges; Millennials actually outnumber their baby boomer parents. The bottom line is that these 20 and 30-somethings are poised to change the workplace, as well as the world. If you can’t attract them to your workplace and retain them across posterity, your organization will suffer a massive competitive disadvantage.
Millennials will soon dominate workplaces across the country
The United States’ workforce will be flooded with millennials over the next four years. Demographers estimate that millennials will constitute one-half of the country’s workforce by 2020. It is clear that these progressives will fundamentally alter the landscape of the workplace. Employers that fail to assimilate to millennials’ ways and desires will not be able to recruit or retain these talented individuals. Sure, older workers might not be fully on-board with altering workplace facilities and dynamics to accommodate millennials, but there really is no choice in the matter.
What millennials desire in an office space
Cutting edge tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter go out of their way to accommodate millennials’ workplace demands. These organizations have instituted niceties like free laundry services, free food, on-site gyms, and much more. Yet these luxuries are not necessary to attract the average millennial. The typical millennial desires to work in an environment in which he or she feels as though they are valued. This means removing the cubicle in favor of a more open work environment that fosters communication and collaboration.
Millennials are also in search of employers that are not overbearing. If you refuse to allow the use of smartphones in the office or if you block web activity aside from that which is pertinent to work responsibilities, millennials will exit your office in droves. You don’t have to coddle these youngsters to win them over. You merely have to bend a little bit to accommodate their way of life. They aren’t anarchists who despise everyone who holds a position of power. Rather, they desire the type of workplace flexibility that seemed a bit taboo in the past.
Times are changing thanks to the Internet
The millennials will forever be linked to the rise of the Internet. The world wide web has become ubiquitous, especially in the lives of the millennial age cohort. They rely on the Internet for shopping, socialization, research, and beyond. Organizations that refuse to change with the times by permitting employees to use their web-enabled personal computing devices, and even work computers for Internet access, will suffer the consequences.
How to retain millennials
Consider the vantage point of a millennial who grew up using the Internet. They are used to checking their personal e-mail and social media accounts throughout the day. If you aren’t flexible enough to permit such activities at work, millennials might not think highly of you as an employer. The bottom line is that millennials are making a strong push for a blurring of the lines between work and one’s personal life. They are willing to check their smartphones and work e-mail accounts while off the clock. Yet the flip side of this coin is that millennials also desire to tend to non-work issues while in the office. If you can provide more amenities than other employers, you will find that millennials are less inclined to seek work elsewhere. Niceties like unrestrained Internet access, on-site game rooms, resource libraries, and spacious work areas go a long way in satisfying this generation.
Wondering how to incorporate some of these niceties into your workplace? Our blog post, 3 ways gamification improves office productivity explains how gaming in the workplace may actually improve employee performance.