Fortune magazine, in partnership with consulting firm Great Place to Work, released its list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials Tuesday. The results were rather surprising.
Rather than wanting to work at chic companies like Vice Media or Birchbox or even tech firms including Apple or Microsoft, most of the Millennials surveyed chose far less exciting options.
The top spot goes to Power Home Remodeling Group, a home-improvement company in Chester, Pennsylvania. Twenty insurance, IT, and professional services companies later comes the first startup-like company, Riot Games. Google comes in at No. 25, Twitter at 31, and Yelp at 41, but Chili's Grill & Bar at No. 11--really?
We're not knocking the methodology. Companies were rated exclusively on employee feedback from 351 companies that each surveyed more than 50 Millennials during the general Great Place to Work survey. In total, more than 90,000 Millennials were surveyed.
The reason why the list looks funny at first blush has more to do with stereotypes of Millennials. Specifically, there's a lot of talk about what they want and everything it takes to keep them happy at work, topics on which Inc.com has written plenty.
People seem to think all Millennials are working in converted warehouse spaces--drinking beer and playing video games. Employers assume twentysomethings need an open floor plan and a casual dress code to be happy. The truth is that most young people, like the generations that came before, just want to be respected, paid fairly, and treated like professional adults, even if they're working in a cubicle in a strip mall.
It's not a coincidence that a lot of companies with startup mentalities have great employee feedback loops and open communication, like No. 61 Newscred's practice of taking monthly employee satisfaction surveys and holding "Happiness Town Halls." While the company also has Ping-Pong tables, employees get more satisfaction from a vacation policy that simply asks workers to "Be reasonable."
Employees at the No. 1 company, Power Home Remodeling Group, describe the company as having a "unique culture of ambition," but employees say there are very few perks outside of a culture of respect and support. "There's no pool table, no game room, there's just the people," business technology director Jackie Herb told Fortune.
When it comes to Millennials, fair pay and respect will get you further than a game room. Boston Consulting Group (No. 8) makes up for long hours and hard work by maintaining a supportive, inclusive culture and providing stellar pay and insurance coverage, employees regularly reported. Chili's Grill & Bar provides college tuition reimbursement, as well as fair promotions and plenty of training to set employees up for success at work. Employees and their families at Pinnacle Financial Partners volunteer together at the Tennessee Special Olympics every spring.
While you shouldn't necessarily take away the pool table and Wii, it would be a good idea to stop thinking of Millennial workers as children who can be won over with fun and games. If you don't provide fair pay and flexible benefits and have a system for incorporating employee feedback, it doesn't matter how much candy is in the pantry--the "kids" will move on to the next house.