Millennial workers are a breed of their own. Having grown up alongside some of the same tech tools we use today and in the shadow of life-changing events like 9/11 and the Great Recession, they’re no stranger to change, technology or innovation. And employers want them on their team. They need them on their team.
But the ideal workplace twenty years ago just won’t cut it for today’s always-on millennial workforce. What works in attracting and motivating older generations of talent won’t keep these young workers invested in a startup.
With millennials surpassing Generation Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force -- more than one-in-three American workers today are millennials -- according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis, employers need to update their workplaces to reflect this change, or risk missing out on today’s top millennial talent.
More From Entrepreneur.com
In other words, millennials are taking over. And employers need to be prepared.
Fortunately, giving the office a millennial-inspired overhaul doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some ways companies have created the ideal millennial workplace on a budget:
1. Offer flexible summer hours.
Think about it -- millennials are relatively new to the workforce and have likely traded their swim suits for business casual attire during the summer months. For a smooth and seamless transition into the workplace, consider offering employees one of today’s hottest (pun intended) perks -- summer hours.
Take Core Digital Media, for example. The online marketing and consumer acquisition platform brings summer vacation into the workplace with flexible scheduling. During the summer months, employees can essentially create their own work schedules Monday through Thursday in order to take a half day on Friday. And for millennial workers who long for their summer vacation days, offering flexible summer hours is a great way to attract, motivate and retain them.
For 55 percent of employees surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management, flexibility and work-life balance are very important to their job satisfaction. Summer hours are something both millennials and Gen Xers can agree on, with both generations placing more importance on work-life balance as a job satisfaction contributor than Baby Boomers.
2. Keep the fridge (and bellies) full.
Want to attract and hold onto millennial employees? Offer them a much-needed snack or even a brewski. Beer carts, fridges and Fridays have quickly become a popular workplace trend, but this trend goes beyond the fully-stocked beer fridge; it’s about trust and respect.
Shannon Kinney, founder of small business marketing agency Dream Local Digital, explains the power of having a beer fridge culture. “We hear this consistently… the fact that it’s there and there are no rules around it, that’s what people respect, even more than whether they partake or not. It’s a culture of ‘we’re all grownups here and we do whatever it takes to get the job done.’”
There you have it, folks. Allowing employees to have an occasional beer during the workday doesn’t just make you the coolest boss on the planet, it can show millennial employees that you respect and trust them enough to drink responsibly while still getting their work done. This is one millennial workplace trend I can personally get on board with -- the two taps are always live at Bouqs HQ.
3. Bring live feeds into the office.
Thanks to social media, live feeds have become the easiest way to consume news. It’s fast, easy and doesn’t require people to go searching. But live feeds go beyond Facebook and Twitter. In fact, they make a great workplace communication tool. Just ask the employees at The Motley Fool.
The multimedia financial service company uses a live feed to communicate praise and recognition in the office. Through their employee recognition platform’s live feed, YouEarnedIt (a company they liked so much, they invested in it), employees can catch up on the latest employee wins.
Not only does making recognition public motivate and reward employees, it creates a culture of open communication and transparency -- a necessary part of any millennial workplace.
4. Mix personal life with work life.
Long gone are the days of separating work life and personal life. To create the ideal millennial workplace, the two have to intermingle. After all, it’s a lot easier working with colleagues when employers know the person behind the employee.
At The Bouqs Company, we hold monthly town hall meetings where our Culture Chef (yes, that’s the actual title) interviews one of our team members about everything from where they grew up to what they did as kids to life-changing experiences they’ve had. The goal of the interview is to learn more about our teammates, beyond the everyday work stuff, to build bonds and bridges amongst and across teams.
Best of all, the interview is accompanied by a slideshow of photos ranging from beloved baby pictures to sometimes-awkward high school photos. Needless to say, it’s a good time. But more importantly, it helps us better get to know our team and build stronger work relationships in the process.
Real company success doesn’t just come from having an amazing product or service, but from creating a culture driven by a work environment designed around employees’ goals, personalities and interests. Do that and the rest will happen naturally.