Engaging millennials in the workplace

10th July 2015

At HRonline we believe people have to have an emotional connection with our product and our brand in order to buy it and continue to use it, core to this brand is creating the kind of culture that people aspire to work for, that makes our employees super engaged evangelists who take the brand with them wherever they go.

So culture has to be core to everything. You only have to have a look at our Twitter feed to see what our culture is all about, of course we’re experts in HR, however we are all about employee engagement and we hope that comes out in everything we do, but our culture is more than just a festival day here, a beach day there, a fancy dress day on the next day and our culture isn’t just the daily NERF gun battles – although they’re all part of it!

Of course we’ve got a fantastic holiday policy, some cool football nets and soft footballs to boot around the office, but our culture is really formed by the creation a sense of empowerment, engagement and innovation.

Millenials in the workplaceWhen businesses talk about millennial and culture they’re often talking about creating a culture that makes the fickle millennial want to stay for any length of time, where their natural instinct is to keep on progressing but we should never be just focusing on millennial, great company culture transcends all generations within the business.

Culture has become a big concern for those companies who mainly employ millennial because they’re much less likely to hang around than the generations that have gone before, carrying with them a clear sense of self and expectations that they’ll be treated openly and fairly in an ethical environment, where they can learn, develop and make and impact on the direction of the business.

Studies in the US demonstrate that company that don’t spend a lot of time working on their culture end up with a higher staff turnover rate compared to companies in which creating an engaging, innovative and inspiring culture tend to have.  As more millennial come into the workforce this will become even more important – in recent estimates as much as 37% more employees could be retained by those companies that put culture at the heart of their personnel offering.

At HRonline we’ve been creating a truly vibrant culture that encourages our team to play in the workplace, where work-fun is an essential part of creating a collaborative, innovative environment in which all members of the team know their perspectives are important, valued and can make a real difference to the direction of the business.

It’s essential to start thinking about your culture, and constantly re-evaluate how your culture is doing over time, because it takes work. You might also want to think about how the culture you’ve created interacts and informs the brand perceptions as your culture is key to many of the business’ touch points.

We’re in the process of going through a rebrand at the moment and much of what we want to come out of that brand is our culture, it’s so fundamental to who we are and what we do. We’ve boiled it down to one over-arching word off which we’re hanging 5 core pillars – these already inform everything we do as a business, however they don’t exist unless they’re written down and this process has really helped HRonline to crystallise our cultural and brand values which we’ll take forward as the brand evolves later this year.

Remember as well that personal and professional development is an important factor to millennials, how are you creating a culture that challenges them to be the best they can be and what support are you giving them to achieve their professional aspirations?

We also conduct a regular internal survey of how the team’s feeling about the company’s ability to hit its goals, this is a key indicator to us about the performance of our culture and the direction we’re going in.

Millenials might be more demanding of their employers, they might want more money and be prepared to move around more than the previous generations, they’re also much more prepared to volunteer and get stuck in when it’s asked to.

Millenials understand the importance of communication, however they’re not as good in face to face situations, they’ll also change between methods of communications, replying to telephone calls with emails and emails with tweets and it’s important to implement systems that will allow them to communicate through the various methods they understand and regularly interact with. Whereas a member of a previous generation would have just got on with it, a Millennial will likely see the people around as the poor communicators.

If a company’s got a great culture that makes an employee feel safe/secure, remunerates them well, makes each person feel like they’re loved and belong those employee’s emotional wellbeing is being looked after, meaning people are freed up to deliver their best, and to focus on meeting the higher-level requirements such as personal growth and self-fulfilment.

At HRonline we believe in the concept of Pay it Forward; that is recognising the benefits you’ve had and got and working out how you can use them to help the people around you. At the moment we’re working with SPARKs, a children’s charity, however in the future it’s likely we’ll open this up further.

It doesn’t matter what type of company or industry you work in and for, any business can have an exciting culture. The important thing is to really understand what makes the company work and focus on those core elements and work towards accentuating them. Make the workplace fun, find out how you can help your employees grow and develop broth personally and professionally, and when your company’s leaders really get involved and engage in that culture as well.

All too often business owners think about HR as being all about absentee management solutions and legal protection, however as Millenials become a greater part of the workforce HR will become more important in working with the different departments within the business to develop the culture in line with the brand and maximize retention.