Millennials are the most diverse generation in United States history. They’re open-minded, tech-savvy, connected and are (on average) 28 years old. They have a wide range of work habits, oddly structured lives and crave diversity. So with such a varied skill set and specific workplace wishes — how can your small business best manage such a forward-thinking group in the workplace?
Offer Training Opportunities
Despite popular belief, nearly two-thirds of millennials don’t have a college degree.1 Due to the lack of formal higher education, your small business should provide proper training opportunities for their millennial employees (as well as older employees). Trainings should include hard skills like accounting and specific software programs, and soft skills like workplace professionalism and communication.
Collaborate & Multitask
Millennials crave collaboration, team-based work projects and an unstructured flow of information at all levels.2 They prefer a variety of tasks and thrive on constant deadlines both independently and in groups. Multitasking doesn’t deter millennials. In fact, answering the phone, responding to emails and chatting online is their norm. Rather than discourage their unique form of working, you should try to foster it by assigning a wide array of tasks.
Encourage Social Media
30 percent of millennials consider themselves proficient on at least three different social media platforms.3 Millennials, unlike all previous generations, grew up with technology. Their media literacy and aptitude is likely to be considerably higher than many of your older employees. If they’re interested in exploring that opportunity with your small business, why not encourage it? If they know your small business’ mission, products and sales strategy — grant them access to your social media profiles and give them the opportunity for account management.
Provide a Work-Life Balance
Nearly one-third of millennials say that managing work, family and personal responsibilities has become more difficult in the last five years.4 But did you know your other non-millennial employees also feel the same way?
After salary and benefits, a flexible work environment is the most important incentive for all generations. To achieve this, explore work models that allow employees to work remotely and start or end the day earlier. If you’re unsure of how this system will work for your small business, give a trial run to see if its effective. After all, within the next ten years an estimated 41% of the workforce will be working from home.
Be a Mentor
Did you know 46 percent of millennials express the desire to start their own business one day?5 Organize short weekly check-ins with your millennial employees. Use this time to provide feedback and open the floor for questions, concerns, and ask for tips on improvement. Allow them to share their unique skill set with you and vice versa.
1Raphelson, S. (18 November 2014). Amid the stereotypes, some facts about millennials. Retrieved May 18, 2015 from http://www.npr.org/2014/11/18/354196302/amid-the-stereotypes-some-facts-about-millennials
2Brack, J. (2012). Maximizing millennials in the workplace. Retrieved May 18, 2015 from http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/executive-development/custom-programs/~/media/DF1C11C056874DDA8097271A1ED48662.ashx
3Sterling, G. (15 July 2014). Survey: Best way to reach millennials is on social media. Retrieved May 18, 2015 from http://marketingland.com/survey-best-way-reach-millennials-social-media-91241
4Rosato, D. (n.d.) Millennials want work-life balance too. Here’s how they can get it. Retrieved May 18, 2015 from http://time.com/money/3859182/millennials-work-life-balance-2/
4Experian. (June 2014). Millennials come of age. Retrieved May 18, 2015 from http://www.experian.com/assets/marketing-services/reports/ems-ci-millennials-come-of-age-wp.pdf