I don’t like the term millennial, because I think it’s a stereotype. I am a Generation X-er and when I was starting out in the workforce, I can remember being labeled as slackers who just wanted to listen to music and not work hard. It seems like each generation wants to blame the one coming up behind it for something.
It’s important for us to not buy in to the negative stereotypes of this younger generation. One thing that you could do to make your company friendlier for younger workers is to evaluate your employee policies to find better ways to integrate millennials into your workforce. One of the things that was important when I was starting out was salary and benefits. I’ve noticed that now, while that still plays a role, it doesn’t have as much weight. What’s important to this younger generation is being respected, feeling like they are part of something that’s bigger than they are, and being able to engage in ongoing training and mentoring. The work environment and quality of life are also very important.
At Cotney Construction Law, we actively employ millennials because they are usually more open minded and think outside the box. We train them immediately and continually through bi-weekly lunch and learns on legal, marketing and administrative topics. We record the sessions for those who couldn’t attend and share them on a private YouTube channel. Our company also pays for all continuing education classes, whether that be online or in person. We also promote employees on merit, not on seniority.
Focus on and foster an environment that is beneficial for the new generation. From an employee policy standpoint, you might want to examine things like work hours. Not everything has to be done on a 9 to 5 schedule anymore. Clearly if you’re on a crew you must show up at specific times, but we live in a world now that because of technology employees can work from anywhere, any time or any place. Flexibility is important and understanding that people don’t have to be in a physical building to perform their job can help align companies with where millennials are today. For office staff who don’t have to be on the jobsite, you might want to consider adjusting policies to allow them to work from outside the office when needed.
Trent Cotney is the founder of Cotney Construction Law, specializing in roofing and construction law. See Trent’s full bio here.
Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.