[“How Entrepreneurs Can Attract And Retain Talented Millennials Who Prioritize Health” originally appeared on Forbes and is written by Melissa Thompson.]
It’s no secret that as a society we’re more conscious about our health than ever before. While technology may not always be our ally in allowing us time to get to the gym — interminable conference calls, Skype chats and emails — we do have greater access to information. Millennials are more aware than their parents were about the dangers of smoking and drinking. We know the types of food we should avoid and that CARBS is a four-letter word. We also know that working in an uninspiring or toxic environment can be detrimental to our health.
Harmful workplace factors include: having unsupportive colleagues, an excessively demanding boss, or suffering constant ill-treatment increases risk of heart disease, depression and high blood pressure. These undesirable conditions are not exactly the perks you look for during a job hunt.
So, if you’ve let your standards slip when it comes to treating your employees, or your HR policies are a little rusty, take note. It’s hard to attract and keep hold of top talent, especially millennial top talent that has gotten used to changing jobs, working on their own projects and prioritizing their health over their career. Seeing as millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, if you’re not implementing policies to attract this dominant (and demanding) demographic, you should be. Here are some healthy ways to attract top millennial talent.
A flexible time off policy
Some of the most forward-thinking companies are starting to think creatively when it comes to attracting millennial talent. The leadership at progressive payments company, Yapstone, who made the INC 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies nine years in a row, are firm believers in working smart. Seeing as you’re more productive at work after taking a vacation, they offer a Flexible Time Off (FTO) policy to all workers.
Flexible time off doesn’t mean offering unlimited vacation, although there are some companies, like Mammoth, that have tried it. But it does mean giving your employees the trust and freedom to manage their own time off. Rather than having to plan their ten days a year in advance, they can use them as they feel and take a break when they need to recharge their batteries.
“At the end of the day,” says tax lien investor Ted Thomas, “responsible workers who are satisfied with their jobs will probably take no more time off than they would with standard vacation time.” Flexible time off is more valuable for the message it conveys than the time off in itself. It shows trust in your employees and recognition that their personal lives matter as well. It also creates a sense of empowerment for millennials that like to be in the driving seat.
Work from home days
A 2016 Harvard study concluded that the average American would gladly take an 8 percent dip on their earnings to be able to work from home. Some of the workers surveyed were willing to shave as much as 21 percent off their salary to work from their living rooms. As technology provides us with the tools to work from anywhere, telecommuting is on the rise. In fact, according to Gallup, as many as 37 percent of the US workforce has done so from their home or mobile office at some point.
Allowing your millennial employees to work from home is another easy and effective way of attracting them to your company. Instead of the time spent commuting, they get extra leisure time outside of working hours. Which means they can take a pilates class, go for a run, spend more time with their families, or hang out with friends.
On the job training
The average American spends around one third of their life at work (between 25 to 30 years to be more precise). Which is an awful lot of time to waste on an unfulfilling job. Millennials like to be creative and to be given a challenge. So, the best way to lose your all-star employees, or turn away prospective ones is by making them follow a strict set of mundane tasks every day. Lowell Crabb CFP, founder of Drive Wealth Management, recently explained to me that helping millennials stay motivated at work is all about helping them have meaningful life experiences while there. “This can be challenging,” he said, “but not impossible. Tying compensation and work goals to positive social impact projects is one of the more popular ways my clients have had success helping millennials feel valued, and prepared for retirement at the same time.”
A strong emphasis on on-the-job training and room for growth is important. Not just vertically, but within the position they were hired for. At least 25 percent of YapStone’s positions are filled with internal candidates. This proves to ambitious millennials that they can carve out a career path that molds around their skills and preferences. They can see clear potential for career expansion. Job satisfaction is a key factor to a healthy life, so providing constant stimulation and on-the-job training is vital.
Everyone’s heard about Silicon Valley’s massage rooms, free snacks and bring-your-dog to work days. Some of these initiatives might seem a little absurd, but they have proven to be highly magnetic when attracting top millennial talent. While Generation X was taught to value compensation and control above all, millennials place more importance on how working in a certain role makes them feel and impacts their life.
Google’s corporate culture, for example, attracts millennial talent from all over the globe. From a selection of restaurants and gyms, to free haircuts and dry cleaning, Google is a company known for investing in its employees’ well being. And it is consistently rated as one of the top places to work. Nap pods and foosball may not be your thing, but think of other perks that would work well with your corporate culture. Sometimes the little details can make a big difference.
As companies like YapStone and Google have proven, attracting top millennial talent isn’t necessarily about offering a fat paycheck. Learn to understand the millennial mindset and the life factors they value most, such as their health and career satisfaction, and you’ll have the A-players knocking down your door.