Top 3 Take Aways for SMEs: engaging Millennials in the workplace

August 24, 2017

Over the past few years the HR180 blog pages (and numerous other articles) discussed  Millennials not really engaging with traditional workplaces.

If your workforce is not allied to your business culture, what will keep employees coming to work? And if by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be Millennials, how can SME employers motivate this massive sector of the labour market in spite of the perceived complexities of this group?

Claire Morley-Jones takes a look over recent research, and what it can tell us about engaging Millennials in the workplace.

By Claire Morley-Jones


SME business tips engaging Millennials in the workplace HRFor many years now Deloittes have been studying trends in the Millennial generation (those who reached adulthood in early C21st) by surveying nearly 8,000 Millennials from 30 countries. The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 was published earlier this year and make interesting reading for SME owners and managers.

  • Respondents increasingly question their personal prospects.
  • Those who enjoy flexible working arrangements express higher levels of performance, loyalty, and trust.
  • They are less likely to leave the security of their jobs.
  • Whilst they perceive across-the-board advantages of working as freelancers or consultants nearly two-thirds said they prefer full-time employment.

Top 3 Take Aways for SMEs: how to engage the Millennial Generation

Below are three ideas to improve performance and retention in this key generation. These cultural changes will have a positive effect on all age groups in your business, increasing productivity and helping you deliver to your clients – leading to better profitability. Smiles all round!

1. CSR/Community Activities

It is well known that the Millennial generation are cause-led and the research showed they feel accountable for many issues in both the workplace and the wider world. Interestingly, it is in the workplace they feel most able to make an impact.

Community activities provide Millennials with a greater sense of influence which can ripple from the individual to the broader workplace to society at large. With over 50% reporting they are able to support charities and good causes in their workplaces, the survey suggests that those given such opportunities show a greater level of loyalty to their employers and this benefits business with greater retention of staff.

  • SME leaders who put in place real CSR/Community Activity strategies and act upon them are in a good place to galvanise Millennials in their workplace. Ask your HR professional for guidance.

2. Offer flexible working

Overall, 84% of Millennials report some degree of flexible working in their organizations, and 39% say their organizations offer highly flexible working environments. They believe flexible working arrangements support greater productivity and employee engagement while enhancing their personal well-being, health, and happiness.

Those in highly flexible organizations appear to be much more loyal to their employers and are two-and-a-half times more likely to believe that flexible working practices have a positive impact on financial performance than those in more restrictive organizations.

  • Is it time for flexibility in your working patterns? Your HR professional will have an in-depth knowledge of common practices and how they would work for you as well as your employees.

3. Create the next generation of leaders

Millennials are forward thinking and inclusive which means, given the enormous challenges in their future, their move into leadership will be a force for good. Because they think ahead Millennials welcome the creativity and skills of Generation Z (aka GenZ – those currently aged 18 or younger) 60% of Millennials believe GenZ will have a positive impact as their presence in the workplace expands.

  • The next generation of leaders will be a force for good so it is imperative that SMEs prepare their Millennial talent for the future with dynamic learning and development strategies in place. Your HR professional will offer a wide range of options for both ‘on the job’ training opportunities as well as bespoke, continuous learning.

Additional reading around Millennials

Baby Boomers to Millennials: Bridging the Generation Gap

5 Common errors made by Millennials applying for their first job, and how businesses can get the best out of them

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