Our office is full of Millennials. Learn how we keep them around!
Doing the rounds this week, a study seemed to be circulating on Linkedin at a feverish rate. “Firms can’t buy millennial loyalty”, it said, citing the research conducted by Deloitte in Australia.
“While money can attract talented millennials, it doesn’t necessarily retain them”, it stated the obvious, adding that “factors like workplace diversity and flexible working arrangements are cited as ways to keep these workers loyal.”
Reading this, we couldn’t help but notice how “millennials” seemed to be an interchangeable word for “alien from outer space” or “that goblin I found in my cereal the other day.” Is it really so outrageous to realize that people’s needs have changed along the years? The concept is simple; if your staff enjoys spending time in your office, it improves their performance and garners brand loyalty on the long-run. But are your employees really enjoying their time or are you forcing them to fall in line in fear of the consequences they might face if they don’t integrate well?
Environment; an elusive concept that - albeit simple - seems to escape many people. How do you build a flexible one without ending up sounding like a 1984 novel?
One of the great things about running a startup is that - no matter how hard we try not to - we tend to reinvent the wheel sometimes. That gives us a chance to see things a little more clearly than all the other guys who’ve been doing it for 20 years, sleep in suit-jamas and own 26 different pairs of the same black sock. 80% of our workforce are millennials, and they seem to be perfectly happy about working here. Have we unlocked the mystery mind of Generation Y?
Other than the fact that we’re paying them (duh), they’re actually happy because we do a bunch of things that otherwise pass as basic human decency.
1. We treat them as individuals.
There is no one size fits all, especially these days where there are 80,000 ways to drink a Starbucks. Diversity is what makes this melting pot a magic cauldron, and where each and every single person drift apart, they make room for innovation. How can we expect anything to work if we all agree it works the minute we think about it?
Good things happen when you start a conversation, and with everybody coming in with some different perspective; conversations sprout out all over the place, giving us a chance to decide on a good, win-all narrative.
2. We leave room for their passion.
If you want to kill a vampire, stake them in the heart. If you want to kill a millennial, stomp them in the heart.
Vampires and millennials aren’t that different; neither is crazy about the sun, they both have a thing for flamboyant attire and flowing capes, and they can both sniff out what they want miles ahead and stay on its track for days.
Millennials don’t arrive at your office with crushed dreams, they are systematically disappointed and broken into form at each office they went to before they came here, and they still make it a point to keep their ideas for those who deserve their time. So ask yourself this, are you listening to them? Are you reaaaaaally listening to them?
3. We give them space to make mistakes.
Passion is great, but inexperience can be quite the raisin in your chocolate chip cookie. We all make mistakes, and in order to feel loyal to a place; we need to feel that we are safe enough to make a mistake.
We all know someone who hasn’t done anything wrong in 8+ years, and that someone probably yells at homeless children and cries in the grocery store because their Brussel sprouts came from a different farm this week. You don’t want people working for you that are scared of stepping out of line, you want people who can stand up for a stupid idea and turn it into a great campaign because 793,346 other people out there happen to think that stupid idea is great too.
Investing in people is sometimes quite literal, you lose money when they make mistakes, and that’s okay. But investing in people also makes you money, because that passion usually turns out to be Chemical X in the sugar, spice and everything nice. In fact, it makes you a lot more than money, it makes an employee that remembers that time you believed in them when no one else did, and that time you didn’t stake them in the heart when their idea didn’t turn out to be all that great.
4. We do not hire private investigators to stay on their tail.
How many people do you know who dropped a great-paying job because they wouldn’t let them go home one day? How many people do you know who call in sick because they can’t make it to the office? And how many more people do you know whose Twitter is a 34,000 tweet-long sonnet about how much of a heartless robot their boss is?
People need a day off sometimes, and they don’t always have a good reason for it. Employers tend to forget an important fact; humanity is a huge aspect of your employee. In fact, about 100% of your employee is human! They have pets who die and get sick, siblings who steal their clothes, cars that break down at all the wrong times, glasses that break because their cats sat on them, and emotional personal lives that are loaded with juggling balls of heartbreaks, disappointments and season finales.
Employers not only tend to forget that their employees are human, they also tend to think that if they give employees a break, they might get used to it.
What actually happens is that, because your employee is human, they remember that time you gave them a break when they really needed it, and they come back to work refreshed and put a 150% because they feel like they owe you one. Crazy right? This “human” loophole is actually pretty amazing.
5. We have a ball pool
We had to put this in somewhere. What if you guys followed all that advice and your employees still hated you? We have to be thorough.
Ball pools go a long way in keeping your employees around, so do trampolines, play rooms, an office pet or any other stress-relieving corner you may think up and integrate in your office. Your employees need to let off some steam sometimes, and your “trust-building” and “team-bonding” events don’t do half the work that spontaneous conversations over shared interests do. As the saying goes, we owe a lot more of our shared humanity to memes than we do to anything else.
Kidding, we just made that up.
What are you doing to keep your employees from killing you in your sleep with a steak knife? Let us know in the comments!