As of last year, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation in America. At 33%, they also have the greatest numbers in the American workforce – a number that is projected to hit 50% by 2020.
As you probably know by now, members of this latest generation are quite demanding. With over 75 million people aged 18-35 either working or searching for work, you’d think that business owners and managers wouldn’t have to worry about pleasing these seemingly replaceable members of an enormous cohort. However, businesses who want to recruit, retain, and maximize return from millennials must listen to what they really want.
Below are five companies offering software or services that respond directly to the needs of millennials, from fulfilling purpose to receiving acknowledgement for a job well done:
Millennials more than any preceding generation, are know for seeking out meaningful work where they can make a difference. When you provide that, you can hit higher recruitment and retention rates. One way to do this is through sustainability, a pathway for employees to be more engaged because they feel more connected to a mission.
REV provides education and tools that integrate the best of sustainability with behavior change to accelerate business impact for a variety of companies and organizations. Their Sustainability Circle® program teaches organizations how to write a five-year sustainability action plan, empowering organizations to embed sustainability into every level of the business, and covering topics such as energy, water, waste, HVAC, green marketing, employee engagement, behavior change and more. According to their CEO, Elliot Hoffman:
At REV, we have many clients who are trying to figure out how to attract and retain millennials, and we know embedded sustainability is an essential part of the answer. Millennials don’t just want to work for a paycheck, they want to work for a purpose. Integrating sustainability into the core mission and values of a business is a critical strategy to attract more millennials. But that integration can’t just be stated, it has to be authentically expressed in the daily culture of a company.
Recognizing employees for what they are accomplishing and who they are becoming is critical, especially for a generation that craves feedback.
Blueboard enables companies to say “thank you” to their employees in a meaningful way, through experiential rewards. They built a digital platform that enables managers to easily send rewards, and employees take their pick of hundreds of custom experiences from a curated catalog.
Examples include kiteboarding lessons, VIP tickets to the game, glassblowing workshops, or even becoming James Bond for a day. They have found that experiential rewards are more memorable, personal, and sharable than typical tactics like cash or gift cards. Blueboard improves motivation, employee engagement, and positively impacts company culture.
Blueboard Co-founder and CEO, Taylor Smith shared this with me:
We (millennials) aren’t spending our money on cars, TVs, and watches. We’re renting scooters and touring Vietnam, rocking out at musical festivals or hiking Machu Picchu. Kevin Yip and I set out to create a recognition company based on this shift in consumption – focusing on what gets us excited, and things we actually care about: memorable adventures and experiences.
I’m not a millennial, but I still gained tremendously from workshops on finance given by our CEO. Company leaders can augment competitive salaries and retirement plans by providing access to financial education.
Stash helps people start investing with as little as $5, gain investing confidence gradually, and build smart financial habits for the long-term. Users can choose investments from over 30 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or stocks based on their interests, beliefs and goals. Investments are described in ways that make them easy to understand, such as “Internet Titans,” (online tech giants), and “Clean and Green” (renewable energy companies). Stash doesn’t charge commissions for buying or selling investments and has transparent, low monthly subscription fees.
“We’re empowering millennials and new investors to choose where to invest their money, and sharing helpful resources and guidance along the way,” said David Ronick, CEO and co-founder. “Our goal is to break down the barriers that prevent nearly three quarters of millennials from investing.”
Engaging employees in healthy lifestyle choices is nothing new. Workplace wellness programs improve performance and lower healthcare premiums and absenteeism. The millennial generation is unique in that many of them want a healthier lifestyle. This includes gym memberships and healthy food delivery. SnackNation is “an award-winning healthy snack delivery service for offices that makes healthy snacking fun, life more productive, and workplaces awesome.”
Additionally, millennials are looking for work/life balance and flexibility. This means that they may be at the office at unconventional times are might push through lunch to leave early for the day. These flexible schedules are inspiring many offices to have snacks delivered. That way employees can walk a short distance to a healthy snack instead of leaving the building for a fast food option. And with employees working longer hours, they need food to keep working. According to SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly, “millennials snack 3x as many snacks as their grandparents and 2x as many as their parents – often replacing meals with them.”
According to our research, 84%of millennials said an open communication policy was more important than perks when choosing a job. And according to PWC, millennials routinely make use of their own technology at work and three-quarters believe that access to technology makes them more effective at work.
Slack is a messaging app for teams that responds directly to these needs by allowing millennials to communicate seamlessly across devices and even comes with many software integrations. In this Slate post, Amanda Hess explains that Slack’s most innovative offering is a cool office culture. She shares what using Slack is like at Slate for her and other twenty-somethings:
When a millennial turns 30, she ceremonially exits the group, and Slack Bot is preprogrammed to release a string of emoji in her honor: four volcanoes, five stars, and a skull, so as to suggest a ritualistic volcanic sacrifice. (I’ll get mine in June.) With Slack, founder Butterfield told me, “you don’t need to go to a campground and do trust falls to relate to one another anymore”.
Millennials often have a bad reputation of being entitled, needing constant reassurance, or having attention spans that have been decimated by social media. Business owners may be wondering how they are going to appeal to these demanding employees, especially when budgets for perks are strained. It turns out that with a little effort, they are quite easy to please. Give them a sense of purpose, reward their efforts, help them develop, and provide a mechanism for efficient open communication. Purchasing that foosball table is completely up to you.
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