Jul 17, 2019
It’s 2025. 75% of the world’s workforce are millennials; smartphone wielding, 6G-powered cybernauts who’ve lived and breathed tech as long as their cloud storage can remember.
But this isn’t a post-apocalyptic movie scene. This is reality. And to attract and retain talent from this growing generation and Generation Z, you’re going to need to make sure your business meets their expectations. The best part? These changes benefit everyone. And they’ll feel it now, not just in the future.
The top 5 ways to retain millennials and Generation Z
A ping-pong table and a few bean bags won’t cut it
Of course, your workspace is an important factor for any of your employees. We’re not disputing that. But a simple revamp and throwing in traditionally ‘millennial-friendly’ perks (pool tables, games consoles, bean bags – we’re looking at you) means nothing without an underlying culture that engages and retains your people.
You should focus on creating a ‘Culture Canvas’ – a term used at our Culture Carnival by Claire Stant, Design Director at Office Principles. Offer a variety of spaces that cater to different working styles and scenarios; break out spaces for quiet, individual work, group spaces for collaborative work, spaces to relax in. Open your office out, encourage interaction and knowledge sharing, and enable it all efficiently through technology. Don’t hide your senior people behind daunting barriers. And bring in more natural light – you’ll be amazed how big a difference it can make.
And as for your underlying culture, everything we’re about to cover will help with that, so buckle up, and read on.
The benefits and popularity of flexible working have seen it become an increasingly common feature in workplaces around the world. But it’s not the norm yet. In fact, in July 2019, a petition with 30,000 signatures reached the House of Commons calling for a Bill to be introduced requiring all employers to offer flexible working.
One comment on the petition summed up its power: “Flexible working means I can juggle family and work life without compromising one or the other.”
Our lives are much more complex than the traditional breadwinner-homemaker model of times gone by, and our access to workplace opportunities needs to reflect that.
Taking the 9-5 shackles off and giving your people the ability to work wherever, whenever and however suits them can do their productivity wonders. They’ll feel increasingly trusted and valued, too. And that’s why flexible working has evolved from a perk into an expectation and a key consideration for job seekers.
Create an inspiring digital culture
The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Our physical workspaces are shifting into virtual hubs. And your people expect to be more connected than ever. But what happens when these people come from five generations? You’re left with a melting pot of tech expertise, motivations and expectations.
You need to make sure everyone has a voice and an opportunity to express their creativity. And you need to make sure everyone’s comfortable using the technology to communicate with each other, collaborate and work remotely.
We think cloud-based collaboration tools are the best answer. And to revolutionise the way we worked; we chose Microsoft Teams. It’s an all in one communication and collaboration platform that we use for a whole range of things, including news and business updates, remote collaborative working, high-quality audio and video calls, live streaming events and the long list of integrated apps; all the way from Microsoft Word to business analytics solution Power BI.
Adopt a digital-first mindset. Let data drive your decision-making. And prioritise agility, flexibility, collaboration and innovation. That’s when you’ll experience all the benefits of revitalising your digital culture.
Growing from day one
Google’s onboarding process is said to work 25% better than everyone else’s. On top of the fabled helicopter hats, every ‘Noogler’ (new Googler) is assigned a buddy. These buddies answer any questions, help them to build a social network and help them to find their feet in their new role.
New starters are generally much more at ease asking a peer a question than they are a supervisor – particularly in the early stages of their job. And the buddy system therefore shortens employee ramp-up time significantly.
Millennials and Generation Z in the workplace have a hunger for learning. In fact, a lack of training and limited access to learning opportunities are the number one reasons they up sticks and search for a new job. So feed their appetite; refine your Learning & Development (L&D) offering to appeal to all styles of learning, be that through interactive workshops, podcasts, articles, online courses or otherwise. And make sure they’re accessible to all your people, especially those that may be working away from the office or at other locations.
All this needs to be built on the cornerstone of learning: regular, honest feedback. Gallup have found that millennials and Generation Z require more feedback than other generations as part of their development. However, they don’t necessarily ask for it.
Create a culture that monitors progress and happiness, celebrates and rewards successes, and addresses problems as they arise. That starts with your line managers. And making sure they’re trained and have the processes in place to understand, nurture and utilise everyone’s talents.
Regular meetings double the likelihood of engagement, and going forward you should try to ensure your managers are connecting and checking in with their team on a daily basis.
Contributing to a purpose you believe in is a fundamental element of the Gallup wellbeing wheel. To attract, engage and retain millennials and Generation Z, you’ll need to clearly define your purpose as a business.
Take a look at everything your business does, and ask: why are we really doing this? Of course, what you want to offer your customers is hugely important, but don’t lose sight of how you want your people to experience their time working with you.
Build and pursue a purpose that unites your people, not one that alienates them and puts them at the mercy of the customer. They are, after all, the key to providing the irresistible client experience that will guarantee your success.
Corporate Social Responsibility
It’s not just millennials and Generation Z in the workplace that want to channel their time and energy into something positive, but they’re the age group that are championing corporate social responsibility and giving back to your community.
81% of them expect companies to be publicly committed to making a difference. That could include volunteering, raising money for charities or undertaking eco-friendly initiatives. It steers their buying habits – 73% of them are happy to pay more for sustainable products – and it plays a big part in their choice of workplace.
To stand out, you’ll need to let them know what you’re doing to make the world a better place. That requires authentic storytelling, effective social media usage and a sustained commitment to building a positive reputation.
Don’t get left behind
A millennial and Generation Z-friendly workplace culture focuses on teamwork, innovation, flexibility and work-life balance – the benefits of which are experienced by everyone. Their expectations are reshaping, refining and dramatically improving workplaces the world over, and if you thought you had until 2025 to get up to speed, you thought wrong.
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