When did the term Millennial become negative? When did my generation become associated with avocados? Seems odd. But I do like them. They're a superfood.

Like with any generation reaching a place of impact in the workforce we've had growing pains. Put this article in a time machine--because 30 years from now, Millennials won't understand the goals, aspirations and actions of another incoming generation. History repeats itself.

Millennials make up 30 percent of the workforce now, and that number is growing. We're assuming more leadership roles. And over the next five years, businesses will reflect our ideals even more.

Large organizations are already preparing for this. Startups should too. Millennials aren't just altruistic beings that care about IPAs and living their best life. We want to get paid and promoted just like anyone. We're just willing to sacrifice a little for the right environment with the right culture and aesthetics.

So if you want to attract tomorrow's top talent you need to start thinking about things you can change today. These five simple things, for example, can make a big difference:

1. Make Mild Changes To The Office Aesthetic

Create spaces based on function not titles. An open office sounds great but isn't always practical depending on what your office is doing.

"When making changes in the workplace, key areas of focus to address in order to enhance productivity are: employee engagement, autonomy, technology, empowerment, social networking and identifying patterns in information," said Keith Perske, executive managing director of workplace innovation at Colliers International. He just finished a study on Global Workplace Trends.

2. Consider Not Having Employees

Sounds crazy, right? But Victors & Spoils built a successful ad agency based on crowdsourcing. They custom build a team of people for each project and client. Building your team to specific tasks rather than making your clients fit your team seems like a very logical position.

This is why we are seeing the gig economy grow because it may be more efficient to add specific, identifiable skills rather than trusting resumes.

3. Make People Feel At Home

A lot of tasks can be done anywhere. Millennials understand that. So you have to make the office competitive with home.

"80 percent of projects are collaborative and there is real value in having employees together. If employers want their employees to choose to be in the office, it needs to be an attractor loaded with amenities, experiences and functions people cannot find at home or in a coffee shop," said Perske.

And he's right. The key is that a Millennial employee doesn't necessarily want to work out of a coffee shop. They just want to be somewhere comfortable, with beverages that allows them to feel relaxed and able to be productive. The cubicle farm doesn't motivate people to get their work done other than the fear of not having a job.

4. Make Health A Focus

Work does not have to be unhealthy. Working in an office doesn't have to be inconvenient. Giving people access to fitness, healthy options and things that make their overall life experience better will make them more productive and stay with your company longer.

This idea isn't groundbreaking but expect it to be as standard as power windows and anti-lock brakes in five years.

5. Don't Resist Change

If you're starting a business right now these are great things to keep in mind. But for those that already have an office and employees, changes can be slow and costly.

"Real estate is not a very flexible asset. Making space decisions today with an eye on the rapidly evolving nature of work and business will help keep options open as the future arrives." said Perske. "No company can afford to continue to stick to with what they did in the past."

Even the commercial real estate world is anticipating sweeping changes to the workplace and looking to adapt. Stay ahead.

Ask your employees. You can read all the studies you want or you can just ask your employees. They'll give you feedback.

Startups embrace change. They most often are change. So use this information and turn it in to an advantage over larger companies that may not be able to make these changes as quickly.

Be a speedboat when others can only be yachts.

Published on: Aug 17, 2017