How business can get millennials to swipe right

| April 14, 2016

Tinder is a dating app consistent with the stereotypical narcissistic standards associated with the millennial generation. Users swipe left (no) or swipe right (yes) to pictures of potential mates.

Similar to a pretty, single girl on Tinder, millennials know they have the power. They are sought after for their savviness with technology, innovation, entrepreneurial skills and more.

According to research by social change organisation The Case Foundation, millennials are motivated and hardworking innovators of science and technology that seek leadership roles and responsibility.

By sheer numbers, millennials know they are in demand. According to a 2015 survey conducted by Lloyds Bank:

  • Millennials will account for more than half of the global workforce by 2020
  • More than three quarters (77 per cent) of SMEs said they feel under pressure to sell themselves to millennials
  • Almost nine in ten SMEs say ‘future growth relies on millennials’.

So how can business recruit such an in-demand class?

How can mid-sized businesses convince the trending and trendy millennial generation to work for them instead of megacorps like Amazon, Disney or Microsoft?

Based on multiple studies, interviews, research as well as my experience as a millennial, we chiefly want three things.  Some employers are concerned that millennials have too great expectations from the workplace. However, take a look at our ‘demands’ — they are not necessarily outlandish.

1. Flexibility

In an ever-connected world, millennials feel they can accomplish many duties outside of the office. We do not want to be measured by hours on our timesheet, but by our work productivity. If we can accomplish a task cozied up in our PJs with a spoonful of Nutella to the same degree as we could sitting in a stuffy cubicle, then that’s where we prefer to be.

This also applies to holiday time. Some companies such as Virgin, Best Buy and Evernote are taking vacation to the extreme. They offer an unlimited vacation policy to their employees. Hires are encouraged to take time off as needed, as long as they are delivering the desired products.

Mid-sized businesses are sometimes situated in the perfect position for this. Owners have the power to implement policies that allow such flexibility. Instead of adhering to strict policy standards usually set out by large corporations, owners have the ability to call the shots.

Listen to your millennial hire’s needs. If they say they work better from home, try to create a schedule that allows them to do so. If an employee needs to visit a sick friend across the country, let them go. As long as the work gets done effectively, who cares where it is created?

Being flexible benefits both parties. Building a sense of trust and ownership in the business goes hand in hand with flexible working. That creates an employee with unparalleled productivity and a fresh, innovative business ethos.

2.  We want a career, not a job

Traditionally upon university matriculation, graduates are looking for work that is relevant to our pricey degree. We are eager to turn in our Starbucks aprons and lifeguard whistles for skills and knowledge that will actually help us professionally and personally.

We want to be on fire for our jobs. Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, put it this way: “No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

Does this mean millennials are more loyal and plan to stick around? Not from research. But what about the fact that this generation uses social media the most and is likely to innovate and engage in enterprise due to this connectedness with friends — including digital friends.

Many mid-sized businesses can create this culture more effectively than a less nimble corporation.

3. We are pragmatic idealists

In his book, Fast Future, author David Burstein describes millennials’ approach to social change as “pragmatic idealism”, a deep desire to make the world a better place combined with an understanding that doing so requires building new institutions while working inside and outside existing institutions.

We are a generation that is going gaga for US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Many of us resonate with his slogan ‘a future to believe in’. We want to make a difference. This includes making a difference in our workplace.

We want to know how the company we work for makes an impact on the world. What good is being contributed by our work? Do our personal values align with those of our company?

Millennials want things faster, smarter, better. In a world geared towards ‘what’s next?’ and ‘what’s new?’, we are the go-to.

Can your mid-sized business accommodate?