The other morning, my favorite morning radio hosts were talking about a topic near and dear to my heart: millennials. I am a millennial, so of course I was intrigued and interested in what they had to say. Well, according to them, millennials are changing the functionality of any given workplace. Employers are increasingly concerned with how they can make work a more pleasant experience for millennials and are even paying thousands of dollars for “millennial experts” to offer advice on keeping millennials happy. I initially found this hilarious, but after listening to the show further, realized there was a lot of value in the tips and tricks they discussed. And now James Goodnow—an attorney and member of the diversity and retention council at Fennemore Craig and respective millennial—is here to discuss some of those same helpful points. If you work with millennials (or are a millennial), read the following tips and tricks, which Goodnow says will help motivate the next generation of leaders:
1) Provide them with the necessary workplace tools.
Goodnow says you should supply millennials with tools that prove essential and beneficial—and I’m not talking simple computers and printers. “Twenty years ago, Gallup surveys found that an employer’s providing the correct workplace tools for success is a key ingredient of retention. Fifty years ago, the right tools might have been a new set of mechanical pencils and a stack of notebooks. Twenty five years ago, the right tools might have been a personal computer and a printer at your desk at the office. Today, millennials want workplace tools that facilitate creative thought and communication,” Goodnow explains. “In my group, we’ve provided our team members with either Apple Watches or Fitbits to help everyone on the team stay connected and healthy. These tools have been an invaluable component of helping us stay dialed in while at the same time de-tethering from the office.”
2) Listen to their concerns and make necessary changes.
It’s also important you listen to your millennial employees’ concerns and remain open to making any necessary changes—even unconventional ones. “In a recent team meeting, we learned that some of the workers on our team in tighter working spaces felt suffocated by sound. As a result, we implemented a beta program where workers could use Bose headphones to drown out the noise and focus on their work,” Goodnow says. “The perk really isn’t just the headphones—it’s the fact that we implemented a program that addresses concerns that were raised by our team members. Millennials gravitate toward these types of simple technological perks that address real concerns and help them focus on their jobs.”
3) Encourage and enable them to utilize their innovative spirit.
Another effective strategy for keeping millennial’s happy at work is supporting their innovative minds. “With the rise of start-up companies like Facebook and Twitter, millennials have also grown up in an entrepreneurial, think-big world. This innovative spirit can be galvanized by providing us with the perk of tools such as writeable surfaces in our offices or common areas for team-based brainstorming,” Goodnow explains. “In my office, I have chalkboard paint on my walls for writing, and our team has a conference room where every surface in the room is writable. Although some from other generations may roll their eyes, I believe many millennials will see this simple perk as an investment in collaboration and creativity.”
4) Create plenty of opportunities for them to participate and offer their ideas.
Goodnow says you should also create endless opportunities for millennials to get involved and offer their input; doing so will instill purpose and reassure them of their standing in the company, as explained by Goodnow: “Millennial workers place a premium on input and having a voice. We have grown up watching millennials create enduring business, and as a consequence we like to have input where we can. If possible, consider setting up task force committees for important decisions that include millennials. By providing an opportunity for input, millennials will feel more invested in the company.”
5) Entice and excite with simple treats.
And finally, keep work exciting and offer incentive by rewarding them with simple treats like ice cream! “Okay this is a vast oversimplification—you can’t buy our loyalty with a sugary treat like gelato. That said, the team-building component of gelato get-togethers (our firm hosted one as a part of staff appreciation week recently), or simply social get-togethers (we’ve had one with ping pong and corn hole) or even offering working lunches can be enticing to millennial workers,” Goodnow explains.