I believe some confusion exists in the workplace regarding millennials. Once we get past the often erroneous stereotype of feeling entitled and not willing to work, millennials can add a lot of value to any workplace, with the right touch. Many employers try to attain young talent through snacks, a young culture, and game room after game room. As much as these perks sound great to anyone, people young and old will always care about underlying values, transparency, and of course, your traditional employee benefits.
I know that many people believe values and what a company stands for are a thing of the past. Enron, Worldcom, and the housing crisis has all Millenials on their toes, creating a more cynical environment regarding business. But this should prove that people care about a company’s values now more than ever.
Anyone can frame a few value-oriented buzzwords and hang them up in the lobby. Enron’s values were communication, respect, and integrity, none of which came close to describing what they stood for. Salesforce, for example, has made community service an integral part of their culture and provides employees with paid volunteer days and matching donations. They don’t just claim to represent good values, they make them part of who they are.
Millennials also want to know their employer is investing in them, instead of just another piece in their money machine.
If you have ever toured Qualtrics, a local tech company in Provo, Utah, you understand what I mean by transparency. Every conference room has glass walls and no metaphorical walls exist between communication. If a young workforce sees transparency, they link it to authenticity and it makes a big difference. Additionally, the freedom of knowing you can freely go talk to your boss or any high level manager and ask questions goes a long way.
Traditional Employee Benefits
This almost goes without saying, but regardless of what is happening in the business, people will always need good healthcare plans and retirement. If an employee feels like they aren’t being taken care of and have to worry about these extraneous concerns, it can really hurt morale. It may not be in the budget to over-spend, but taking care of perceived basic needs of your employees first will make that ping pong table more meaningful.
Again, I know that a lot of these suggestions may seem either obvious or insignificant, but millennials still care about them and aren’t likely to remain in a poor work environment when there are better options out there. Consider your turnover and general productivity levels, and see if these suggestions might make a difference.