Young Upstarts

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How To Make Your Company More Attractive To Millennials

For smaller companies and startups, attracting and retaining millennials isn’t the same as with Generation X. They have very different priorities when considering a job and aren’t solely motivated by money. A sense of community and the company’s mission matter too. In the gig economy, companies that offer greater flexibility in their employment terms tend to gain favor over ones which are more restrictive.

Here are a few tips on how to make your company a hotspot for millennials.

Encourage Independence.

While teamwork is still important, millennials enjoy independence just as much. They often need to feel they’re captain of their own ship even if they’re in an entry-level or mid-level position. Fast moving companies need to see results. Looking good is nice, but no one employs someone for their vibe. Millennials that wish to work hard and get ahead are keen to work for a company that recognizes talent and hard work over surface considerations.

When it comes to job applications, not every younger potential employee is brilliant at creating a resume or having a reliable cover letter sample to work from. Therefore, don’t always expect their resume or cover letter to blow you away. Often, they won’t. However, their drive and focus on the job, ability to work unsupervised and embrace of the community aspects aren’t to be discounted either.

Company Must Have a Mission They Can Root For.

While most companies pay lip service to the idea of a company mission, for millennials, they really respond to the goals of the company. They don’t wish to work for a large corporation where they don’t know what it’s all for. It’s more important to them to appreciate the goals of the business and see everyone pulling in that direction. Bonuses and performance-related pay is likely best appreciated when it also connects to the larger mission too.

A strong sense of purpose is something that’s highly motivating to younger workforces. Knowing the company has strong ethics and is the better business when up against stuff competition is likely to engender greater loyalty from the younger workforce who feel a sense of mission and wanting to be in the fight.

Companies must communicate this clearly to staff in a way that just wasn’t necessary before. This is something that’s always been a struggle for the higher ups because they’ve not wanted to give away operational details that could reach their competitor’s ears should a current employee go to work for a competitor later. However, management need to get over this mental barrier and find a way to talk about the company’s goals without necessarily spilling the secret sauce along with it.

More Flexible Hours.

Work-life balance isn’t just a catchy phrase that’s passing in the night never to be heard from again. For younger employees, they value having greater flexibility in their workday. This could mean having flexible hours for non-customer facing positions where they could start anywhere from 8am to 10am and finish work between 4:30pm and 6:30pm.

The culture of needing to put in the long hours to be seen as going the extra mile and then looking good for promotion is unlikely to be a successful one with millennials. They won’t wish to sacrifice a work-life balance on a vague notion that they may get a promotion down the line, all things being equal, if they put in extra hours, often unpaid. That simply won’t fly. They’re more likely to arrive on-time and leave on-time, expecting their completed work to stand on its own merits.

Negotiable Vacation Time.

Vacation time in the US is a tricky one. Traditionally, the US stands way behind other developed nations when it comes to the vacation allowance on most positions. The two weeks is barely adequate for most employees who, when vacationing, opt to do so within US shores or trip over to Mexico or Canada for a quick week away. Going farther out is difficult to do with such limited time off.

For millennials, they would rather negotiate a lower pay package in exchange for the option to get more time off each year. They want to experience new things and not feel restricted by a job in that regard. Often, when they’re unable to get enough time off, they’ll quit a job, take the trip and return later to find a new job rather than accept the vacation restriction. As such, offering flexibility when it comes to vacation time (and how much can be taken at one time) is important.

The younger employee isn’t fixated on salary in the same way as older employees are. For one thing, they won’t necessarily be earning anywhere near as much and so a few adjustments to pay to get more vacation time doesn’t matter as much as the increased freedom and flexibility. The benefits package is also important, but the more options the better here.

It’s certainly a whole new world for employers with a younger workforce because their expectations and requirements are very different than with employees in years’ past, so take the above advice into account when hiring.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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