Millennials have a gazillion awesome qualities that make them indispensable in a professional environment. Perhaps the most important one is that today’s young people are not the buttoned-up office drones of the past. They bring their personalities and their lives with them to work, which means that instead of coming into the office to zone-out, millennials want to get involved, they want to be part of a community, and they’re happy to share new ideas or innovations.
If you’re looking to make your workplace more friendly to young people, here are some ways you can honor their individuality and help them produce the best work for your business.
Make the workplace their second home
Millennials want to be comfortable at work. While it can’t be a party all of the time, you can make sure that they feel like part of a work family, and that there are built-in ways to enjoy the company of their co-workers.
1. Organize social clubs
Whether it’s a softball team, a company band, trivia night or wine tastings, organize group outings that are all about cultivating interests beyond work.
2. Host weekly drinks or barbecues
Nothing fosters community like sharing a meal or drink, and everyone feels extra appreciated when it’s on the house.
3. Surprise snacks
Just like the most solid romantic relationships, shaking things up never hurt anyone. Bring donuts in on a Friday morning or a box of cookies for a mid-afternoon pick me up.
4. Casual dress code
There are exceptions, of course, but allowing millennials to dress casually respects their personal style, and lets them bring extra energy to their work, not their work clothes.
Respect their work-life balance
Even the most committed millennials have full lives that mean as much to them as their work. Giving them time to enjoy travel, family, hobbies or the outdoors not only shows a respect for them as whole people, it ensures that they’ll bring their best to their job.
5. Grant autonomy
Millennials like being presented with a challenge or a project and given the freedom to manage it as they like. They want to be trusted to rise to the occasion.
6. Offer flexible hours
Some people don’t fully wake up until after 11 am, and others need a mid-day workout to keep their minds sharp. Flexible schedules mean that when millennials are in the office, they’re ready to work.
7. Provide breaks during the day
Even if it’s just 10 minutes, encourage your employees to get outside their work and see what fresh eyes can bring to the table.
8. Allow for telecommuting
In some positions this is impossible—it would be hard to serve a dinner from home. But if there are elements of a millennial’s job that can be performed outside of the office, give them the option to do it.
Keep them engaged
Millennials care about their workplace and they want to know that, in turn, the workplace cares about them. Allow them to get involved and invested in the business, and you’re likely to see a huge contribution from them.
9. Keep them in the loop
Bring them in on the larger business goals and plans. If they’re aware of the mission, they’re more likely to be passionate about the job.
10. Ask for their unique input
Validate their experience by asking for feedback or ideas for innovation.
11. Involve them in the decision-making process
When you’re making plans or tough calls, have conversations with them about what they value.
12. Coach, don’t manage
Instead of laying down the law, be there along the way to provide support and guide them.
13. Provide feedback
Millennials want to know how they’re doing. Let them know where they’re doing excellent work and where they can improve.
14. Create regular training programs
This shows them you’re invested in their growth and it also ensures that your business is always looking ahead.
15. Assure them that there is room for growth
While they may not have seniority, they like frequent opportunities to earn raises, promotions, and a solid standing in the company.
16. Be transparent
Regular and direct communication are a major part of millennial life, so be prepared to engage with them authentically.
Have a meaningful vision
More than any group of young people before them, millennials are hyper-aware of other lives around them, and they want to build a future that looks better and brighter for as many people as possible. Crafting a solid vision for your business can show them the power of their work.
17. Create a guiding mission statement
Millennials are looking for work that not only benefits them but other people. They want to leave an impact in their field and in the world, so consider the larger significance of your company or business model, and make it clear to them how their work plays a role.
18. Practice sustainability
These are young people who grew up measuring their carbon footprints in science class and riding their bikes for clean air. Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and future generations in the ways you can, even if it’s just composting and recycling.
19. Showcase workplace diversity
Millennials appreciate co-workers with different experiences, but who all agree on the importance of diversity in developing strong work. If you make a point to hire a diverse group of employees, also make an effort to ensure their comfort in the workplace.