How to build a company culture that invests in Millennials

In Part II, Devan offered further advice on how to create a magnetic company culture. A significant part of building a strong, positive company culture is letting each worker know that they’re seen as not just a company employee, but first and foremost as a person. As Millennials cement their role in the current workforce, research and personal experience tell me that one of the core Gen Y values is achieving work-life balance.

millennials in the workforce

By working to ease generational tension and granting Millennials in the workforce the space and trust to work the way that best suits them, employers help their younger employees excel in their positions and strike the healthy work-life balance they desire.

Break down the divide

Before I discuss how we can specifically fulfill younger workers’ values while optimizing their performance, let’s look at how the workforce as a whole currently views them. The stereotypical attitude experienced workers have towards Millennials is one of condescension and confusion, but does research support that viewpoint?

millennials

In MySafetySign’s 2015 Health and Safety Industry Survey, experienced workers tended to have a lower opinion of younger workers. Respondents with more than five years’ experience found Millennials challenging to work with: 28% felt that they are easily distracted.

Are Millennials in the workforce actually easily distracted, or do they simply take a different approach to their work? Younger workers may be more inclined to ask “Why?” Experienced employees may be choosier when it comes to communicating their concerns because they understand that questioning their employers may not ultimately help them meet their end goals.

Asking questions and seeking additional information is a form of hands-on, on-the-job training that benefits Millennials more than outdated instruction manuals and rereading the company handbook. Just as some people learn better using visual aids, others prefer reading step-by-step written instructions, and different generations may also excel using different approaches.

Employers can help solve these generational challenges by inviting respectful discussions, providing constructive criticism, and helping employees mold their position to fit their individual strengths.

Play to their strengths

While the pre-1990 crowd is critical of Millennials’ ability to focus on tasks, they can also admit the younger groups’ talents. 25% of survey respondents do consider Millennials to be better with technology than other workers. This acknowledgement has the potential to pay off in big ways if used to a company’s advantage.

While Baby Boomers and Generation X employees are known to check their email at 11pm, Millennials’ savvy tech skills and desire for work-life balance allows them to unplug after hours. They are able to accomplish more in less time and may not need to be available around the clock the way older workers were. This kind of willingness has become outdated as many workplaces switch to shorter workdays or adopt “Summer Friday” policies. The 24/7 work policy will finally see a sunset as Millennials rise to power.

This is not to say that you should make exceptions for the Millennial force. It’s not that they need constant coddling in order to produce quality results, but they do want to hear positive feedback when they’ve earned it. Like Devan said in Part II, build a culture of appreciation, not condemnation.

Knowing that your experienced employees respect younger workers’ technological abilities, challenge the Gen Yers to develop new, streamlined processes using technology that they can pass on to experienced workers who may not be as familiar with newer tools.

Takeaways

Millennials in the workforce have high expectations for both their lives and their careers. If you can’t meet their needs, don’t be surprised if they look elsewhere for a boss who can.

If your Millennial employees need a little flexibility from you to maintain their desired work-life balance, try to find a compromise that suits both parties. Offering them a flexible schedule or providing them with outside training resources are both forms of employee investment.

Create a company culture that invests in Millennials by recognizing the work they do while also integrating them into the existing office culture with older workers. Millennials may be able to teach you a thing or two as well — like turning off work email at the dinner table!

employee job descriptions

Photo credit: Unsplash

Britt Klontz

Britt Klontz is a Digital Content Strategist and PR professional. Say “hi” and give her a shout @Britt_Klontz, she’s always up for having a conversation about digital marketing tactics and social networking in general.

Comments

  1. Britt: You should listen to Matthew Moroni’s talk on the Millennials on the potluck (un)conference, WebCoast.

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