young businessman looking afarMillennials: The recent college graduates hungry to learn and eager to work hard. Forget the fact that this generation is known for wearing flip-flops and ear buds, craves praise, and is looking to launch their own billion dollar idea. What makes Millennials fantastic employees is their social media and web foresight, their passion to do something they love, and their determination.

That’s why companies need more Millennials on their team. Young, thriving companies, start-ups and faltering companies looking to find their voice, again. Millennials work hard and play hard. And they create a mountain of culture out of the molehill you provide. They can help the C-Suite reestablish the company’s purpose and create an energetic place for people to spend most of their days.

But it’s getting them in the door that’s often the hardest part.

Millennials are a larger group than their generational predecessor, Gen-X, and are poised to play a major part in building the young professional ranks in your organization. By 2014, Millennials will make up 36 percent of the workforce. Companies that don’t value culture aren’t going to keep a Grade-A Millennial engaged.

Look at the roundup lists of “Best Places to Work.” The winners have volleyball courts, office masseuses, party committees, free meals, beer carts, and consider pets a part of the family. These are the types of benefits Millennials expect to see in your benefits package.

My company,, is based in Waltham, Mass. Only 11 miles from Boston, but can be a 45-minute commute in bad traffic. Yet, as I walk around our open space office (meaning no cubicle walls!), I’m always struck at the masses of young faces. Most of whom live in the city and face this commute each day. Yes, they are eager to work for an entrepreneurial tech start-up. Perhaps they also like the fact that our service provides families with childcare, senior care, housekeepers and pet care to make their lives easier. But, I think it’s also that our CEO has made culture a top priority.

Simple offerings can bring in a refreshing resurgence of talent and energy to your company. If you want to attract the next generation of workers and continue to grow your business, you need to demonstrate to Millennials that you have the kind of company where they want to work. This includes:

  • Workplace flexibility: For a generation constantly connected and always up to date, office hours, and the office itself, don’t seem to be so relevant. How, where, and when they do work needs to be flexible.
  • Social life: This generation expects to participate not only at work, but have a personal life as well. They need to know you’re going to give them space and support their need for both. And if you provide fun during office hours, even better.
  • Caring culture: They want to know that you’re socially and environmentally conscious. But they also want to know you care about them. Remember, this group is also called the “Generation We.” They need to know you will provide benefits and services that help them with their personal lives, with their family, and their pets, in ways that demonstrate that you care about them and their personal needs.

Yet, the addition of yoga and beer will not suffice. Your company culture should extend to your Gen-X and Boomer employees as well. These will be your leaders, while the Millennials are your learners. And let’s face it, Millennials are often the task-masters. They are looking for challenges, generally unmarried and without young families or aging parents.

As recruiters, you must care for the needs of all generations. In HR, we tend to think that’s through health benefits and salary packages. But it extends much farther than that. As you think about your pitch, don’t forget about how your company comes across to each generation’s personal needs.

And when you approach the next Millennial, remember, this might be a member of “Generation We,” but he or she is also ‘Generation Next.’

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