3 Ways To Appeal To Millennial Employees

Millennials make up a significant portion of our workforce. It has been said that Millennials are the most educated yet most underpaid generation in the workforce to date. What’s more is that this generation is one of “job-hoppers.” They don’t want to (or rather, don’t need to) stay in one place for too long.
All this in mind, employers need to find ways of appealing to, retaining, engaging, and professionally investing in their Millennial employees.
Easier said than done.
To be effective, his effort must be genuine and must communicate that you, as their leader, understand their needs, their values, and their priorities both as professionals and as people.

Here are three key ways to appeal to Millennial employees:

1. Put systems in place… but loosen the reins.

To a certain extent, everyone wants to be told what to do when it comes to their jobs. Freedom in the workplace is great, but as human beings, we are creatures of habit and we like structure. Following orders equals structure, which equals easy.
Let’s take a step back.
Consistency is important no matter what. Even when giving someone free reign over an assignment, there always has to be a baseline. In other words, if you allow for flexibility, the work should still be done within certain parameters.
A mixture of flexibility and rigid guidelines allows you to both appeal to the Millennial mindset but also to human nature and the safety of structure.

2. Transparency is always appreciated.

I like to say that I use a carrot instead of a whip — it’s easier, it’s less stressful, and if somebody doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do to get the carrot, someone else will.

I’m utterly transparent about this format in my businesses.
Your success (or more accurately in this case, your paycheck) depends on how hungry you are. If you’re hungry enough for that carrot, you’ll get it. But you have to work for it and want it more than the other bunnies competing for it too.
You can’t play a game if you don’t know the rules or if you don’t know the score, so it’s important to be transparent with your employees about how you run your business and what’s expected of them.
A Millennial will appreciate that you’re being straightforward, and the prizes they earn along the way brings me to my next key point…

3. Instant gratification is not a myth: compensation is king.

We created a point system to reward new employees going through the training process in our offices. It looks something like this:
Employees learn and do their jobs = points.
Points = dollars.
Earning points/dollars as they do their jobs = instant gratification.
Employees doing their jobs + getting rewarded along the way =
Happy boss and happy employees.
We instill a healthy dose of competition right away (and are transparent about it) to both motivate and reward our employees from the start.
This system not only instantly gratifies our employees, but it also allows the company to spend less on entry level salaries. Employees are able to get rewarded right away for doing their jobs, whereas in most companies, you don’t get rewarded until you start making commission. But you don’t earn a comission until you’re fully trained… see the problem?
Our system eliminates the 1–2 year gap where most employees fall off because they’re unwilling to put in the time (*ahem* Millennials).
With this point system, our employees start earning bonuses right away if they work for it rather than having to wait for those commission checks way down the line.
Everybody wins.

I have nothing (nothing) against Millennials.
Each generation has something unique to offer (insert blanket statements about work ethic and entitlement here). You simply need to play to those unique strengths to empower your people and maximize their abilities.
It’ll save you a lot of time, money, and energy and it’ll keep your employees happy and motivated.

Shaun Black is the Founder of Koha, launching Fall 2017.
#WhenInDoubt, a new interview series by Shaun Black. New episodes every other Friday on Facebook.
Follow @mrshaunblack on Instagram and Twitter for more small business insights and inspiration.

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