Millennials today make up 38 percent of the global workforce. This group of 22-37 year olds come with their own preferences and workplace ethics, which are unlike any generation preceding them. Here’s why — while studies show that 50 percent would quit if they were not happy with company culture, 90 percent would like to grow within a single company.
So as demographics shift, it’s clear that workplaces need to adapt to changing priorities and interests. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your work culture appeals to the millennial.
Establish a healthy work-life balance - Millennials are all about striking the right balance between work and play. Sure they want to be successful, but they’re not willing to give up on quality of life in pursuit of that goal. In fact, 80 percent of them believe loyalty to a company comes from a flexible work situation, in which they are encouraged to spend time to pursue a passion outside of work. To this end, a reasonably generous leave policy, permission to work from home where life situations demand, and fun outings allow your people to cool off.
Create a unique office environment - Google made the news recently for adding slides to their American offices, and Infosys made waves with a bowling alley. To put it simply, traditional office layouts and rules are yesterday’s news. Break the desk-chair monotony with beanbags, swings, and colorful couches — you’ll be surprised at how much it livens up both your space and your people. However, don’t stop at just furniture. Millennials are more likely to fit into a company that gives them a one-of-a-kind experience. So, offer facilities such as snooker tables, monthly massages, and sandwich stations at work, and watch the environment transform. All it takes is just a little creativity and most companies now have similar perks today. I am seeing more and more of this in Bangalore. In fact, Pink Lemonade was among the first companies to start spa treatments and Friday fun snacks and now I see every company on our street providing similar perks to their people.
Shatter the ‘perks’ myth - While these perks work well, snacks, games, and team trips aren’t the only things keeping millennials in their jobs. These must be complemented with meaningful initiatives that make a difference in their work lives on a daily basis. For example, allowing team members to bring their kids to work whenever needed, and even pets, shows your people that you are willing to make the adjustments needed for them to be at their most productive. Supplement these with experiences like the occasional dance session, game tournament, concert, or hobby-based workshop, and you have a culture in which your people feel truly valued. In fact, there are a number of service providers who are successfully providing such services to corporate organizations that want to give their people a taste of some non-work down-time!
Offer meaning alongside regular work - Everyone wants to feel like they’re making a difference. To this end, giving your people meaningful work and getting them involved in Corporate Social Responsibility can give them the motivation they need — which is why technology powerhouses Microsoft and Intel have developed some of the world’s best CSR programs. In addition to this, companies could organize a ‘month of giving’, where team members came together to cook food and distribute the same to the underprivileged communities. Clothing collection drives and volunteering opportunities are also great ways to give back to the world you live in and to let your people be part of something bigger than themselves. In Bangalore, there are a couple of organizations that have helped put together carefully planned programs like this — Humane Universal Good Deed Network (HUG) — is one where food donation is easily supported. Step Up works with many corporate enterprises to have people volunteer time to teach English in government schools.
Encourage employee growth and development - You can choose to be a detached and impersonal employer, or you can show dedication to your people by encouraging their growth at every level of their careers. Take an active interest in our people’s personal and professional development by offering an employee-driven learning series and company-sponsored courses for upskilling and improvement. Invest in your people — because more often than not, development of your team means development of your company.
Across the world, millennials are becoming a greater part of the workforce every day, and it is important for a company to value their expectations and goals. You will soon discover these simple changes you incorporate to stay in tune with this generation are highly beneficial to their general happiness, and in turn, to the growth and progress of your company.