Class of 2016 – Aligning the workplace with the millennial mind-set

Autumn is here and an influx of new graduates will be preparing to enter the workplace. The latest generation of the UK workforce, often referred to as millennials, will come with fresh ideas, new perspectives and, as true digital natives, with much more technological nous. Given that 81% of HR managers say digitally savvy graduates make workplaces more productive, they will be in high demand.

Using results from a recent Vodafone study into millennials in the workforce, we explore a few of the ways SMEs looking to expand and develop their businesses can attract and keep a new generation of talent.

  1. Make yourselves easy to find

According to the research, 64% of millennials use the internet to find a job. Therefore, in order to get the best talent, businesses need to make sure that they are easily discoverable online. This hyper-connected generation don’t just use generic search engines to search for a job with nearly a third (31%) using LinkedIn and or online job board websites (32%). Therefore, by creating a LinkedIn page and promoting job opportunities through either free posts or paid-for job advertisements, SMEs can quickly and effectively improve their chances of finding the best millennial talent and vice versa.

  1. Think digital as part of your business process

Millennials’ technological expectations don’t stop at applying for jobs, but continue once they are in the workplace. Their expectations mesh neatly with the best interests of a business, as equipping their employees with the tools they need to do the job, such as smartphones, laptops and specific software, will mean employers get the very best out of their talent. Not only that, but once they’ve been embraced into the business, they can be a driving force for positive change. In fact, our research showed that over half of experienced employees said that millennials in the workplace taught them new skills and helped their organisation keep up with modern technology.

By giving employees the freedom and the tools to work and communicate as they want will not only improve their productivity but also how they engage with your customers. By ensuring that staff are connected and able to deliver responsive customer service, business leaders will quickly find that investing in technology can boost productivity, employee satisfaction and ultimately impact the bottom line.

  1. Embrace flexible working

The research highlights that the average period of time a new graduate stays with their first employer is 2-3 years as after that they become restless and begin searching for new career opportunities. With this in mind, businesses need to meet millennials’ needs in order to retain them for longer and ensuring they don’t leave just as they have started to get a real insight into how the business works. In terms of key motivators for applying to and staying at a company, two thirds (65%) of millennials look for the option to work flexible hours, and one third (32%) want to have the ability to work from home as and when they want to.

Given these factors are of such importance to millennials, flexible working can be a great way to offer these employees the freedom to work in a way which suits their job and lifestyle: whether working remotely from home or a public space; or using flexible hours; or having the freedom to fit their work around their lifestyle.

Some businesses may fear that the introduction of flexible working could be a costly venture. However, such environments can now be set-up much more affordably than ever before using mobile technology: with a smartphone, laptop or tablet all that is really required. Mix that with a connection to the internet, access into the office IT infrastructure and willing employees, and you have a flexible culture at no extra cost.

Laying the foundations for a flexible, dynamic and digital future

Our research shows that, according to the millennials themselves, this new pool of talent want flexible, dynamic and modern work and are likely to want to work for businesses which offer it. As digital technologies continue to evolve, it is vital businesses embrace flexible and digital ways of working in order to survive and thrive. By aligning themselves with the millennial mind-set, these changes will not just benefit the younger generation coming into the workplace but empower businesses as whole, laying the foundations for a successful digital future.