A Practical Guide to Catching the Brilliant, Elusive Millennial.
By Austin Graf on March 2, 2020
Let’s Talk About Your EX… (Employee Experience)
In a world where User Experience, Client Experience, and the IMAX Experience are so important, what about the way we, as business owners, treat our employees? That’s right. We are talking about Employee Experience.
Unemployment is insanely low right now. Seriously, in September of 2018, unemployment was the lowest it has been since 1969 and Nixon. What does that mean for employers? People have options. The economy is booming, and employees simply do NOT have to take whatever job they can find. There are skilled labor shortages running rampant, and employees have the upper-hand in the market.
When employees see greener grass and brighter pastures, how can a company retain quality employees and attract the right new hires?
Internal branding. In a market where employers are competing for their workforce, it becomes critical to brand your company to attract hardworking millennials.
There is this stereotype that millennials tend to be lazy and flaky and yadda yadda, and we are. We love tacos🌮. We love Sriracha. But a lot of us? A lot of us love creating, innovating, challenging, and reimagining the world. We are visionaries and you would be wrong if you felt that your company couldn’t use a healthy dose of millennial work ethic.
I’ve spent some time as an employee, and I don’t think any of my employers would have a single bad thing to say about me.
Employers love to complain about the work ethic problems of millennials, yet they are always trying to figure out how to capture good talent and convert good talent to great talent.
So what’s the problem? The older generation of the corporate world hates that we know how things SHOULD be done. We aren’t just some lazy demographic. We are a demographic that values balance, and we are sick of corporate closed-mindedness. We want to get things done. We want to change the world. We want our input and opinions to matter. We want to rock business, but we want to be happy while doing it.
We spend so much of our lives working. It’s time to step up your amenities guys. Happy employees are productive employees. Don’t lose them because they are unhappy.
Below are a few ways to create a company worth working for and to prevent valued employees from leaving you for bluer skies.
You Never Made Time for Me
There were a couple of cool things that I liked about working as an employee at my old company, but for every “cool” thing there were dozens of “not so cool” aspects.
The biggest of which is this: Companies expect employees to be flexible (work overtime), but they are rarely flexible with their employees.
Millennials value their time. There are places we would rather be. We like work, but we work to live, we don’t live to work.
Flexibility is huge for millennials.
While it’s important to have structure in the workplace, I don’t think structured formats should dictate something as unpredictable as life. Maybe that old “Work hard. Play hard” mentality is overdue for a renaissance.
Millennials want to work harder for shorter periods of time. It’s basically like a kid eating their vegetables. We want that part to go as quickly as possible so that we can get to the dessert (the weekend).
There are so many options that a company can embrace to achieve flexible scheduling:
- Let your employees work remotely. In this age of technology, more companies than ever have the ability to have their employees work remotely. The digital commute is wildly appealing to millennials that love the flexibility of being able to travel. If they are capable of working where they are most comfortable, the quality of their work will shine through, and employers are much less likely to suffer from the restlessness of millennials that are always looking to relocate to the next “hot city.” If a person is irresponsible or just not cut out for work-at-home, they’re likely not the world’s best employee anyway.
- Companies like Google famously embrace 20% time. Basically employees work the standard five day work week, but Friday is a free day (20% of their week) in which they can spend their time working on whatever company-related passion project they choose. They have the freedom to choose. That flexible freedom reduces stress and encourages creativity.
- Embrace the “Four-Day Week”. Every single weekend is a three day weekend for employees. A recent study, which you can read here, shows that cutting an entire day off the week maintains the job performance and productivity of five full days, lowers employee stress levels, and increases work-life balance. If a company can accomplish the exact same objectives in four days as five, while increasing the quality of life for its employees, it’s just cruel to continue enforcing five-day weeks.
Overall, employees love the power to choose. Let them choose, or even if you don’t let them choose, let things be a little slack and loose. Not feeling well today? No problem. Just work at home.
Whatever way your company approaches the work/life balance, brand your company as one that values and understands balance.
Let’s Talk About Our Feelings
Make sure your employees know your vision. Keep them updated, ask their opinions, and perhaps more importantly: VALUE THEM.
People don’t like being invisible–if they do, maybe you should be hiring more “go-getters”. If you value the opinions of your employees and if their ideas are being taken seriously and if they have invested interest in your company, they are going to work harder and remain settled for longer. Employees that feel like their position is critical to the success of your company are less likely to just up and leave without significant notice. If they are feel valued (and genuinely are valuable to your company) they will in turn value that company.
If your employees have had a really rough day, acknowledge it. Letting your employees go home early after a really tough day can be the difference that allows them to return happy the next day. Make sure employees leave your office happy more often than not. Try assigning a few awesome tasks per week instead of giving employees crappy jobs constantly.
Wednesdays are rough. Wine Wednesday anyone? We aren’t saying you need to condone drinking in the workplace, but we do love the mentality of encouraging little midweek treats that give employees something tangible to destress and enjoy their week just a little more. Break-room donuts are overplayed🍩. Be original and fun.
No matter how you do it, make your company’s voice one that values its employees.
I’m With You For the Money
Be upfront about how much you are willing to pay.
I think it’s ridiculous when companies make paying their employees more difficult than it needs to be. Salary negotiations shouldn’t be a game of poker! I experienced this agony once, and I really didn’t know what was going on. Should I show my hand first? Should I try and get them to show me? I read that supposedly $1 million in salary is left on the table during a person’s lifetime due to poor understanding of salary negotiation skills.
Companies offering their “bottom dollar” are companies not willing to invest in their employees. Pay an employee what their work is worth, not what minimum wage says they can “survive” on. How can an employee work effectively if they are constantly worrying about their next meal? Stop haggling. Determine what is fair based on the industry and the workforce available to you, and BE FAIR.
Employees will respect reasonable offers without insult. If they know they were low-balled they might take the job but start the job looking for a new one immediately. They know what they are worth, even if you think you pulled a fast one on them.
Overall, millennials value jobs that offer some sort of flexibility, decent pay and benefits, and bosses that actually care about them. I don’t think that any of those things are ridiculous, far-fetched, or outlandish.
Creating flexible options, leveraging little details that say “I care”, and paying people fairly will be more than enough to create a solid, ethical foundation for your company’s brand. Employees love the details. “Oh, Ginny! You should come work for BLAH BLAH. They let you bring your dog to the office!”
Making your job and company one that your employees want to tell the world about is all the marketing you need to keep HR flooded with brilliant resumes.Back to the blog