Entitled, flaky, needy, and lazy: the attributes associated with the stereotypical Millennial hardly warrant management going the extra mile for their happiness. However, as anyone with actual experience working with Millennials knows, these alleged attributes are no more common among their ranks as they are among the general population.
In fact, Millennials are eager to work hard without raising a peep – and therein lies their true fault, if one could be so bold as to truly generalize a generation: Millennial professionals don’t speak up to authority figures enough, preferring to suffer unnecessarily and text about their misery to their friends.
It comes partly out of a fear of looking stupid or perpetuating the alleged propensity for people their age to whine about everything. However, as harmless as this mildly passive-aggressive behavior seems, it has the potential to gum up the works of an otherwise well-oiled and fine-tuned machine of a business. Unhappy workers are ultimately not as productive as their happier alternate universe selves, and this means your business is going to run at reduced efficiency – in this universe.
So, what can be done? While we caution catering to staff too much, as is the case for any workforce of any age range, there are a few things which can be looked into – equipment, creature comforts, and actual creatures – which may go a long way in making Millennial-aged employees happier workers, and ultimately more productive ones as well:
Step up the coffee game
No workplace is complete without the Mr. Coffee, but a standard-issue cup of joe leaves much to be desired. Millennials, if not previously employed by an upscale coffee shop, spend more time in one than they care to admit (or both). In short, upgrade the office brew offering, perhaps with an espresso machine. Let staff vote on the custom espresso tamp design and weekly flavors to bring into work. Sit back and enjoy the aroma and increased productivity, if not a cup or two yourself.
Run the business with toys
One of the additional complaints regarding the “typical” Millennial is they’re easily distracted with technology. If this is true, why not invest in an array of office gadgets to keep their tech-loving attention focused on work related tasks? Turn a detriment into a benefit for the business. Just make sure these tech toys are relevant to operations, otherwise, it ends up creating a new distraction.
Bring in man’s best friend
Assuming no one in the office is cynophobic or allergic, business owners ought to seriously consider allowing dog-owning employees to bring their canines into work. It’s a growing trend throughout companies across the world, and particularly among Millennial staff. More so, there’s evidence a dog in the workplace provides a boost to morale and – you guessed it – increased productivity. Not to mention, besides compensating the building owner for possible carpet damage, there’s no cost to the company.
Millennials in the workplace get a bad rap for the most part. They’re just as likely to give their all as any other generation of worker, they’re just less likely to know how to make themselves happier and more productive while seated at their desk. That’s where you come in. While it’s certainly not a manager’s role to coddle the staff, he or she can certainly take steps to provide a work environment where employees are not only happy to work, but happy to work hard.