Adapting to the Millennial workforce

The average age of an American small business owner is about 52 years old. (That’s me.) We all face similar challenges – taxes, lead generation, financing, accounting, operational. But the biggest issue that we’re facing in 2016 is staffing and motivating productive people to be profitable. Currently, about half of the United States work force belongs to the Millennial demographic (people who are between 18-34 years old). As the number of professional Millennials is expected to rise over the next few years, we have to focus on the needs and demands of the Millennial workforce.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a huge myth about this generation. We see them on television protesting against the “one percent” and speaking loudly for better education, healthcare and other entitlements. Many Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers think that the Millennial generation is built from entitled slackers. But Millennials don’t work less – they work smart.

Another difference is that Millennials work to live instead of living to work.  According to polls, a majority of Millennials prefer flexible working arrangements to higher salary.  They value their jobs and gain personal satisfaction through work, but this generation values balance over money. They want paid time off.  They want the flexibility to be with family and still fully contribute to their employers.  While they desire to be entrepreneurial, many are held back by overwhelming student debt and costs. They’re smarter and more educated than any generation before, meaning they appreciate the precious passing nature of life and the importance of balancing time between making a living and simply living.

So how should a business owner or manager respond to this new generation?  Not by complaining.  Not by harping on the “good old days” when you used to work 18 hours for a penny.  No one wants to hear that.

Instead, respond with competitive paid time off policies. Implement a strong work from home or remote employee policy. Invest in technology – cloud apps, mobile devices, cyber security – that enables Millennial employees to work from anywhere at anytime. Tear up apart the old employee manual to update for LGBTQ rights, pregnancies, workplace bullying, vaping and wellness programs. Stay ahead of laws so that you are proactive in offering the best healthcare, minimum wage and benefits.  This is not an easy task while maintaining control of overhead and remaining competitive within the industry. But when you find that balance you will reap the rewards:  a happy, productive workforce who contributes to increasing profits and company value.

You can fight the change.  The smartest executives adapt to the new workforce.

Ready to learn more about embracing workplace mobility without sacrificing security and performance? Register now for my free webinar on The Mobile Millennial on M ay 25 at 1PM EDT.