Many people in the promotional products industry agree that there is a high demand to diversify the industry with young professionals bearing fresh ideas and new perspectives. Furthermore, we need the younger generation in the industry to take on more of a leadership role to help advance the industry. In order to acquire this young blood, the industry needs to be attractive to them.
There are more Millennials in the workforce than any other generation – a full 86 million by 2020 – so what’s keeping them out of the promotional products industry? Millennials are looking for more than just a nine to five and a paycheck. As they enter the workforce, they are transforming the office environment. They question the nose-to-the-grindstone work environment established by Baby Boomers and want a career that integrates with their life. For this reason, other generations sometimes see Millennials as a threat in the workplace because they feel these younger employees are challenging authority. Therefore, they’re often hesitant to hire them.
I know, I know, change is scary. You’re set in your ways and content keeping it that way. However, as we discussed previously, strict sales-driven work environments are actually counterproductive. So maybe we should listen to what these Millennials are suggesting and loosen up a bit. After all, we – as an industry – need these Millennials, so we need to transform our culture to attract them.
Here’s what Millennials look for in a career:
- 37 percent of Millennials would take a pay cut if it meant flexibility in work location and hours
- 81 percent of Millennials think they should set their own work schedules versus 69 percent of Baby Boomers
- 64 percent of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place
- 72 percent would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79 percent of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor
- 88 percent prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one
- 88 percent want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably
Now that you know how to please them, how are you going to work with them? The following nine tips will help you work best with Millennials while helping them reach their highest potential and taking advantage of the unique skills they have to offer your business.
- Provide structure without micromanaging.
- Provide leadership and guidance.
- Encourage their self-assuredness and can-do attitude.
- Take advantage of their comfort level with teams.
- Listen to them.
- Challenge them.
- Allow them to work how they want and don’t worry about their focus.
- They’re tech savvy – take advantage of it.
- Provide a fun, employee-centered, life-work balanced workplace.
Seventy-five million Millennials are joining the workforce. We need to help diversify the promotional products industry by making it attractive to Millennials and by instilling a work environment that is suited to their generational needs. Make your Millennial employees happy in a fun, yet structured setting, and you are building the foundation for the superior workforce you desire. And remember to share this article by using the social media icons at the top of this page.