Rising to the millennial challenge – Part 2

employment, millennials

In my last article I discussed methods and attitudes that SME owners can use to attract the best millennial employees to their businesses. Here we look at how to keep hold of them and how you can build their talents into the future fabric of your business.

Retain good workers by prioritising them over profit

Many of the millennial generation have an ingrained belief that business functions for profit, usually created off the backs of the employees. In return for their contribution, they would like to see diversity, a positive workplace culture and flexibility – these are becoming the keys to a successful organisation in today’s society.

So rewards are not just about the salaries that employees receive. They want more – recognition, flexible hours, work from home opportunities, social events… the list is seemingly endless. However, SMEs can tick the boxes without needing major investment. To succeed with the new generation, the first thing is to acknowledge them and demonstrate appreciation of their input. For the rest, be smart and use innovation – a little bit of thought can go a long way.

In terms of developing your millennial staff, young workers want personal and professional development on a continual basis – more than just the formality of the standard annual review. The HR Dept would advise business owners to keep continuous improvement and innovation at the forefront of their minds when it comes to their employees, so their business can move forward, attract quality employees and, crucially, retain them.

Take their concerns into account when planning for the future

The millennial generation has major concerns about their future, given an uncertain global economy, the advent of robotics and the continued rapid development of technology such as artificial intelligence. At the same time, the demographic of our nation’s workforce is made up of some very different generations, each of which has very different values. Millennials are working alongside baby boomers, competing with them in climbing the business ladder. It is a continuous juggle for business owners and managers to manage in an effective way.

So how do business owners turn these conflicting factors into something positive and constructive? To start with, the most savvy business leaders will see millennials not just as a burden, but as something to harness. With motivation, trust and confidence, who knows what skills they could perfect to take your business to unexpected new levels of success?

Your digital-savvy millennial employee might understand more about efficiency and automation than anyone else in your organisation. So take the time to listen them and, if they demonstrate potential, offer to send them on a course or training day, or secure them an external mentor, to keep them keen and bring added value to your business.

It might also be good for your baby boomer employees to listen to your younger staff, too, especially if your customers or suppliers are embracing new technologies and practices. Join the experience of your older employees with new ways of thinking and it could provide a powerful offering for your customers. Likewise, new generations can of course learn from the older, more experienced ones.

Perhaps most importantly, such an approach could dismiss any fears of generational divide by developing cross-generational relationships throughout your organisation.

Jenna Paulin, Director, The HR Dept