So, you want to employ a millennial?

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the generation who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. The precise year range varies from one source to another, however. Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the 1991 book Generations: The History of America’s Future, define the Millennial cohort as consisting of individuals born between 1982 and 2004.

Millennials barely (if at all) remember a time before the Internet, and they are generally comfortable with and adept at using technology. Of course, in an increasingly technological world, this is a bonus in the workplace.

By 2020 it’s predicted that millennials will make up 35% of the global workforce. So what? How are they any different from previous generations? Well, the fact is that social and economic changes have drastically changed their values, beliefs and approach to work.

They crave a healthy work/life balance

Unlike previous generations, millennials don’t have the burning desire to climb the corporate ladder. Fewer and fewer of them view status symbols such as a job title, house or car as factors of success. For many millennials, success is achieved through having control over when and where they work. By the time a millennial is looking to get married, buy a house or have children their demands at work are increasing, therefore a classic 9-5 job doesn’t cut it. Flexibility is key! Through implementing a flexible work strategy to accommodate a healthy work/life balance, you will find that your millennial employees will be more motivated and, as a result, more productive.

They prefer a fun, employee-centered workplace

Most millennials want to enjoy their work and make workplace friends. If you create an employee-friendly atmosphere that promotes employee interaction, job satisfaction and productivity are likely to increase as a result. From office putting greens to vintage subway cars and revolving bookcases, Google are the kings of creating fun innovative workplaces that foster employee interaction and productivity. Hold on! This doesn’t mean you should talk to planning permission about installing a slide in your office. However, investing in open-plan offices and common areas could have a positive impact not just on millennials but your entire workforce.

They love regular feedback and encouragement

As a group, millennials respond well to positive reinforcement. They appreciate being noticed and having their efforts recognised. When millennials feel important, they are often more content to stay with that company longer. This doesn’t mean you have to write essays on your employees’ performance; a simple “thank you” or “great work” will go a long way. If they’re not meeting your expectations, be constructive and tell them how they can improve. Millennials value open communication.

They’re skilled at multitasking

Due to growing up in the hyper connected world we find ourselves in today, short attention spans are increasingly common. However, to combat boredom millennials have exponentially developed their multi-tasking abilities on a scale you may not have seen before. Multiple tasks don’t seem to phase them: talking on the phone while simultaneously writing an email and answering instant messages is not uncommon. To ensure maximum productivity from your millennial employee, you should ensure that they have a variety of smaller tasks to complete within a week, or daily tasks, rather than setting a larger project spanning a month.

In summary, as an employer, you need to take a different approach when managing and motivating millennials. They place a higher value on their time and wellbeing, so if you want to tempt them into your workforce, creating employee centred workplaces with flexible working strategies is the order of the day.

Have you taken any unusual steps to update your workplace and make it more attractive to a younger workforce? Share your stories with us on Twitter or LinkedIn!