What You Shouldn’t Offer Millennials As A Perk

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Remote work.

What? Flex time, yes. Working full-time from home, no.

Believe it or not Millennials desire to connect relationally more than any other generation. They tend to prefer virtually, but putting a Millennial at home takes him/her out of any opportunities for interacting face-to-face.

If Millennials are perceived as poor communicators, why would you want to make it worse by eliminating social situations?

Take it from an entrepreneur himself, working from home can get lonely. Instead of complaining about other co-workers not getting their work done, you can only vent alone (occasionally talk to yourself…at least I’ve heard). Lifestyle entrepreneurs desire solidarity and freedom, but it’s not for everyone. Traveling for vacation is much different than waking up at work.

Workplace culture has overtaken following your passion. Without a shared physical location it’s nearly impossible to create culture (unless you’re a 100% remote company). Millennials love to collaborate, therefore working in close proximity breeds socialization.

There’s a downturn in entrepreneurship of Millennials for the simple fact: it’s lonely (risky too). Millennials love to consume and that’s where the steady paycheck comes in. Companies offering career development programs shouldn’t worry about Millennials leaving. Your 20’s are a time of career exploration and companies can address this by providing long-term on-boarding programs (structured like an internship) comprised of: mentoring, cross-departmental training & soft-skills workshops. Do that and retention rates will skyrocket.

Stereotypes of any grouping are a place to start, but never the place to finish. Millennials get a bad rap on many issues (some deserving), but if you really understand their values and motivations you can focus on their potential and strengths.

Perks are meant to improve engagement which results in increased productivity. Don’t make the mistake of offering working from home to Millennials or else you’ll become a former employer soon.

 

Millennials: The Argument For Separate Training

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There’s been talk in HR circles that one of the most overrated and unnecessary training a company can do is for Millennials.

I understand the stance that people are people and what Millennials want: meaningful work, perks and work-life balance is what other generations want, but that misses the point. ┬áHere’s why:

If current training programs are “doing the job,” why are Millennials leaving companies at a record pace?

Contrary to popular belief, Millennial training programs are not a threat to HR departments. Instead they are specialized bonus.

Think about it. From a Millennial worker’s perspective, the relationship with HR is one of cautious skepticism. Yes, HR is there for the employee’s benefit/rights, but it’s also HR’s primary function to protect the company it represents.

Knowing that, Millennial workers may take advice from HR with a grain of salt.

The definition of loyalty has changed. Millennials are loyal to people, not companies. That means if an outside trainer/consultant comes in and relates to younger workers better than current supervisors, both sides win. Most managers spend 50% of their time dealing with interpersonal conflict. Imagine how much time and money is saved when delegating leadership development.

Ultimately the goal is retention. It’s much more expensive to recruit, interview, hire, train, then fire an employee opposed to maintaining a strong career development program. Investing in Millennials produces better results and happier workers. The greatest lasting reward you can offer your younger employees is feeling: valued/appreciated. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Lastly, training Millennials is like marketing to them. You first have to understand what they want in order to reach them. The same dynamic happens in professional sports. Coaches who don’t relate to players can never get the desired results. Who the information is coming from is as important as what is being said. Millennials are unfiltered, which can be perceived as unprofessional, but truthful feedback is received well once genuine trust and care has been established.

Training Millennials is an art. This doesn’t mean HR can’t do it, but it’s time consuming and challenging. As much as Millennials love to collaborate, they prefer to do it amongst themselves. Clump them with the rest of the group and they’ll tune you out.

Scott Asai is a speaker/coach that has been developing leaders for 20+ years – athletes, companies and individuals. His focus is helping people develop leadership skills to advance in their careers. Scott tends to attract a large audience of Millennials and Introverts to his programs/events. His professional background consists of: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach.