The conversation about millennials in the workplace continues to dominate how business leaders plan for growth and optimize the employee experience. This connected, tech-savvy and entrepreneurial generation today makes up more than 30 percent of American workers.
And millennial leaders are already shaking up workplace dynamics by eliminating some typical practices that hinder their communication and workstyle preferences.
While many experts tout what millennials want in an employer, the real challenge for some companies is understanding what they don't want and modifying the workplace and traditional policies in order to best attract them.
Here are three things about traditional workplaces that might turn off younger candidates and what you can do to make your company more attractive to the millennial generation.
Top-Down Decision Making
Eighty-eight percent of millennials want a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one, and that includes a preference for collaborative decision making. Millennials also expect more communication and collective decision making. If company leaders have made a decision, millennials want to know the reasoning behind the decision so they can understand and buy into it before they move forward.
While creating a transparent environment is one of the biggest gaps for employers to overcome, research shows companies that struggle with transparent decision making may risk alienating their millennial employees. Consider how you and the leaders of your business can be more transparent about company decisions through regular company meetings and consistent updates from leadership on the decision-making process.
Strict Hours and Office Spaces
Millennials will make up 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020. At the same time, 50 percent of all U.S. employees will work remotely, SHRM reports. However, according to a 2015 study from FlexJobs and WorldatWork, only 37 percent of global talent acquisition organizations support flexible work options, which include working remotely, working a flexible schedule and part-time work arrangements.
If 74 percent of millennials want flexible work schedules, and 69 percent believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis, then employers will need to think about ways to make flexible work arrangements feasible.
Likewise, traditional office space designs can hinder millennials' perceptions about your company. This generation prefers a more open environment that includes open seating, collaborative spaces and innovative workplace technology.
Lack of Ongoing Training and Feedback
While business leaders understand the importance of performance reviews, many are still stuck in the rut of only delivering performance feedback once or twice a year.
Not surprisingly, 80 percent of millennials say they prefer in-the-moment recognition over formal reviews and feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job. Consistent performance feedback is a must for millennials. This generation wants frequent input on what they're doing well and what they're doing wrong along with solutions for improvement.
Company leaders and HR teams can collaborate on solutions to make feedback more frequent by eliminating annual performance reviews and training managers on how to more successfully deliver ongoing feedback.
Feedback, flexibility and transparency are three keys to win over millennial talent. Keep these concepts in mind as you work with colleagues and HR teams to eliminate these issues and develop scalable solutions to attract this generation.