When it comes to managing millennials, it helps if you’re a millennial.
Speaking at Inc.’s recent Women’s Summit in New York City, Julia Hartz, the co-founder and president of Eventbrite showcased her company’s efforts to keep employees--or, as she calls them, “Britelings”--engaged and focused on their work, even when they’re thousands of miles apart. In the last year, the online ticket seller that’s based in San Francisco opened up offices in Dublin, Nashville, and Melbourne, Australia.
Among other things, Hartz touted programs designed to spur employee engagement. There are the “Brite Talks” which allow employees to teach their fellow workers. The company uses collaborative technology to keep in touch with co-workers in satellite offices, and it favors transparency in how the business runs. Also, the company offers catered lunches, a “zen” room and team outings at a trampoline park.
These practices have helped the company land atop a variety of “best places to work” lists, as well as Inc.’s 2014 35 Under 35. These policies have also helped Eventbrite reel in hundreds of millennial workers that now make up 80 percent of its 450-person workforce.
“We have a lot of people coming out of college,” said Hartz, who at 34 is also a millennial.
And though this generation may be legion--according to some estimates, 77 million Americans are aged 18 to 34--attracting these seemingly plentiful workers has eluded many of today’s small business owners.
Giving credence to this challenge were the questions that sprang from the audience after hearing Hartz’s passionate portrayal of her company--which was accompanied by a brightly colored assemblage of photos of young faces wearing funny hats and oversized glasses. Among others, how do you guide employees to figure out what drives them? How does Eventbrite come down on policies that are seemingly pro-millennial like working from home?
To these questions, Hartz didn’t claim to have all the answers but she did offer these four tips, which should--at the very least--help you conceptualize your own millennial workplace dilemmas:
1. Treat jobs as a learning experience. You may have hired someone to fulfill a certain role, but that shouldn’t be the last thing that person does for your company. “It’s really a tour,” said Hartz. You have to focus on employees and help them identify their changing needs and wants. “That can be really hard in the beginning, but as you grow, find opportunities to help them grow,” she added. “People are changing careers so quickly…Someone was hired for one job and finds dream job elsewhere; my job is to make sure they get that at Eventbrite.”
2. Give employees purpose. In addition to taking the important step of writing down the company’s vision statement, Hartz said placing that vision on a pedestal so that everyone in the company (even those in satellite offices) can see it, will keep people actively engaged in the company. “Tap into what matters to your team,” she said. “Outings and food are icing on the cake. You need to spend more time on the ingredients of that cake.”
3. Provide guidance. As autonomy loving as millennials may be, they’ll often need a helping hand--particularly when they’re new to the workforce. Try not to be overbearing, but consider connecting workers with a mentor or defacto mentor, suggests Hartz. Eventbrite also checks in with employees each quarter to ensure they’re on the right track. “At Eventbrite, I focus on mentoring and helping people get from point A to point B.”
4. Set the bar high. While Eventbrite doesn’t have an explicit policy for or against telecommuting or a prescribed amount of vacation days, Hartz said, the company is pretty clear about what’s important: results. “If you set the bar high and you are a results oriented environment, you can be confident that you’ll get there.”