September 2, 2014

How to Make Your Company Sexy to Millennials, Part 3

How to Make Your Company Sexy to Millennials, Part 3

In Part 1 of this series, I explained how articulating your business goals in the right way can make you sexier in the eyes of Millennials. In Part 2, we talked about how to use social networks to attract 18 – 33 year olds to your business. Now, we’re going to learn how to dance with Millennials. Metaphorically, of course.

American Millennials are one of most diverse generations we’ve had in a long time. This fresh new crop of thinkers is energized by variety. Which means, to attract and keep them, you need to create work environments (and clear but exciting career paths!) that are full of dynamism and diversity. That’s right. The best way to keep Millennials engaged is to keep things moving.

Millennials are attracted to the businesses with the best moves.

Want Millennials to gush about working for you? Give them dynamic mentors and non-linear career paths. Let them try out different roles. Rather than asking them to become experts in one area, give them a breadth of projects that allows them to experience the whole. With these young workers, it’s not about structure and consistency. Leaders of sexy companies know that, if want Millennials to dance with you, you have to keep regaining their attention.

And I have news for you … this isn’t just about Millennials anymore. Every time I give my Generations’ Keynote I talk to plenty of Boomers and Gen-Xers who also question whether the old paradigm of moving “up the ladder” still makes any sense. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people in the workforce (of all generations) who aspire to the C-Suite. But there is a far greater number who are looking for ways to have a good job AND a good life. By learning the right “moves,” you aren’t just keeping Millennials interested, you are also ensuring your top talent – from any generation –stays on their toes.

Millennials are attracted to companies that know how to mix it up.

Part of the genius behind this dance is the cross-pollination it creates. Every energized interaction is an opportunity for your team members to learn from each other. And it’s important to note that, with the Millennial generation, it’s not about competition and ownership. They’re not spending their time secretly plotting how to one-up each other or claim ownership of an idea. For Millennials, it’s about what we can all accomplish together. Ah, togetherness. Now that’s sexy!

So think for a minute about who you have sitting around the conference room table. Are there different experience levels, personalities, cultures, ages, ethnicities represented? Get serious about diversity by taking a good hard look at the people you have in decision making roles. Does everyone look and sound just like you?

Here’s how you can start getting your company’s groove on.

Don’t try to eat the whole elephant. Ease into your new moves with something simple. For example, have your next team meeting outside in a park or at a coffee shop. Notice whether the level of engagement changes. Next, choose a project and assign a truly diverse team to getting it done. Remember, transparency is crucial. Tell them what you’re up to, “I think we need more diversity of thinking around here and I want to start with this team.” Help them navigate their differences of opinion fairly without influencing their decisions.

Then keep the ball rolling. Look for ways to get workers out of the day-to-day mundane, even for just a few hours a week. Can you plan off-sites outdoors, team meetings at local cafés, monthly brainstorming sessions at the bowling lanes? Try it and let me know how it goes!

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