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article-millennials-in-the-workplaceTech-obsessed. Social-media savvy. Mired in student debt. These are just some of the terms that accompany descriptions of Millennials. Millennials, those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, can get a bad rap.

But whether you love them or not, millennials are a growing part of the workforce. In fact, millennials now make up the largest part of the Canadian workforce.

managing-millennialsWhen hiring millennials, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from: Many are experiencing sky-high student debt (at an average $28,000) and are struggling to find work in their choice field, according to the CBC. Millennials are also looking for more than just a J-O-B. They’re looking for passion, purpose and growth.

This is good news for small business owners looking to attract talent. Given the right tools and resources, small business owners can capitalize on millennials’ talents and professional capacities. Learn how you can attract and retain millennials with these five tips.

  1. Be a mentor. Millennials want to take an active, collaborative role in the company and make a difference. They want to feel part of the greater good and play an integral role in a company.
    According to a blog entitled, Can boomers and millennials form professional ‘power teams’?, millennials are “interested in personal growth, and want mentors to help them avoid mistakes, make progress and offer meaningful contributions.” When working with millennials in the workforce, make your mission clear and explain how it impacts others, as well as offer opportunities to help them learn and grow in their career. As a boss, you can take on a leadership role and act as a mentor to millennials who are eager to grow in a position filled with purpose.
  2. Offer valuable and consistent feedback. When it comes to managing millennials at work, it’s all about giving valuable, constructive feedback. Millennials crave feedback: They want to know how they’re doing and prefer feedback at least monthly. Compared to previous generations, millennials actually want more feedback, which can be a good thing. They’re eager to work, improve and grow and, given the right feedback, they can help support your small business and soar.
  3. motivate-millennialsCelebrate work-life balance. In today’s ever-connected world, it’s easy to be “on” 24/7 and have your work-life balance out of sync. But millennials in the workplace are looking for more than just a paycheque — they want flexibility and work-life balance.
    According to a report by PwC on engaging and empowering millennials, “Many Millennials are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life… at the same time, they are willing to compromise: Give them some say in how and where they work, and they will deliver.”
  4. Play to their strengths. In order for millennials in the workplace to feel satisfied and engaged, they want to be given opportunities to play to their strengths and develop as professionals. The PwC report cites that “Millennials are driven by the more social needs of flexibility, appreciation and team collaboration.”
    As a small business owner, you have a unique opportunity to shape roles for millennials and invite them to collaborate on projects. Instead of sticking to traditional job descriptions with strict roles, offer flexibility and room to tackle new tasks and build new skills. For example, if your employee enjoys social media or writing, let them help with your communication strategy. Cater to their strengths so they feel like a part of the team and are invested in your business success.
  5. Be open to new technology. The Internet and social media were cornerstones of many millennials’ upbringing and, because of this, many are hardwired for technology. Millennials in the workplace should have access to technology and resources that make their lives easier. If your systems are out-of-date, consider getting recommendations from millennials, and ask what tools would help them be most productive.

By using these five tips, you can help to retain millennials in the workplace and keep them happy, all while growing your business. It’s a win-win situation.

For more tips on small business success, read 4 networking strategies and 5 qualities of a star employee.

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