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Let’s face it. Hating on Millennials has become 2017’s version of the washed up comedian making fun of airline food. We get it: everyone’s addicted to their smartphones and expects a promotion every six months. But as a business leader, your responsibility isn’t to point to the problem. Instead you have to find new and innovative solutions that work for everyone. That starts with the culture created in your office. One study reported by Forbes showed that 92% of workers—Millennials or not—believed that having an improved culture directly improved the value of a company. So if you feel like you’re swimming upstream against a current of culture changes, consider some of these facts—and how they may help you as you shape your business of tomorrow:
In an age where we can instantly connect California to the Ivory Coast, it makes sense that an increasing number of people would choose to work from home for a company that might not even be in their own state. We live in an age of nearly endless options—and that now includes where and how we work. And in the name of self-interest, the expansion of remote workers actually benefits businesses: you can cut down on costs of importing top talent, even reducing your overhead on extra office space. In one instance, the Harvard Business Review cited a 13.5% productivity increase from remote workers, and a $1,900 savings over a nine-month period for the company per-employee. When you’re expanding the breadth of your talent pool, you’re creating a stronger workforce. It’s not a bad thing: it’s simple economics.
They say that Millennials are in constant need of affirmation—and a quick scroll through the average Instagram feed would make that a hard case to rebut. But what does that mean for work? It doesn’t mean that you’re going to have to constantly “like” everything your employee does. What it may mean, however, is that engaging on a personal, intentional level with your employees pays off in spades. Hubspot produced a staggering infographic on the importance of feedback in the workplace. The theme was loud and clear: nearly 70% of workers said that they would work harder if they felt like their effort was acknowledged and recognized. You don’t always have to hand out a trophy, but it’s important to call out the effort involved with producing solid work.
It’s not just about adding a few more emojis to your text conversations. The standard modes of communication across major companies are quickly becoming a hindrance for Millennial workers who demand the latest and most innovative. As CIO.com points out, that means “you can expect your millennial employees to be frustrated with older, legacy systems that lack speed and a modern touch.” Simply put, it’s not just about being more intentional with communicating, but it means changing the way you communicate altogether. Whether that’s getting away from tired group emails, or adopting better systems for online meetings, it’s time to bring your communication style into 2017. But don’t let this scare you: these innovations are exciting. Millennials are making exciting progress in the workforce, and that means positive changes for your business. You don’t have to keep up with every viral trend, but don’t trick yourself into thinking these new ways of business are all fads, too.