The tech world is often led by younger individuals, which makes sense when you consider the bold innovations that each generation brings to the world of technology. However, when it comes to non-tech startups, the average age of a successful entrepreneur is 40.
The good news is that rules are meant to be broken, and many up-and-coming entrepreneurs are proving this on a daily basis. For example, the founders of probiotic super smoothie company Nomva, Caroline Beckman and Nina Church, are two 23-year-old women. They supervise a team of 10 like-minded individuals, and the average employee age is also 23. In other words, these millennials are overseeing a team of their peers, and they’ve been successful enough to catch the attention of respected publications such as the Los Angeles Times and major retailers like Target, Kroger and Whole Foods.
There is a lot that can be learned from this type of success story, including how to foster the best working environment for millennials. After all, this is a generation that grew up with the Internet, smartphones and a wealth of information about how to best take care of themselves and the environment. Unlike every generation before them, they even have the opportunity to be awarded video game scholarships. Therefore, whether you’re 23 or 63, it’s wise to take a closer look at the outside-the-box thinking that keeps millennials engaged.
Looking deeper into Nomva’s unique culture, here are 4 tips for getting the most out of millennials:
1. Stop being condescending toward them.
Every generation seems to enjoy vilifying the next, but millennials have faced an especially difficult road due to massive financial changes nationwide. This doesn’t mean that millennials aren’t hard workers. They actually work an average of 45 hours per week in the U.S., and 12 percent of them believe they’ll need to work until they die to make ends meet.
Despite this, millennials can face a lot of condescending behavior from older players, especially outside the tech industry. This same issue can prevent millennial entrepreneurs from getting their ideas off the ground. Stopping these stereotypes is vital for future business growth.
2. Incorporate health and wellness.
Before founding the company, Beckman and Church recognized the fact that their generation cares deeply about boosting their health and wellness. This isn’t surprising considering that fears about having access to affordable healthcare have been looming large within this generation for many years.
Nomva incorporates caring for their team into their DNA: they have vegetables baking in the office throughout the day, do daily squats breaks together, frequently gather with partners for healthy dinners that are cooked by the company’s employees. This is definitely different from the typical coffee and doughnuts that can be found in break rooms throughout corporate America. The best part is that it can also drastically reduce the company’s healthcare expenses.
3. Comfort beats appearances.
Most people who work in an office environment are used to wearing suits and other professional attire. However, multiple studies have shown that being comfortable increases productivity. Everything from the office temperature to the required wardrobe plays a major role in worker comfort, and younger entrepreneurs have begun putting this knowledge to the test.
At Nomva, this means allowing everyone to wear workout gear as their work clothing. Other places have adopted more of a business casual approach. Either way, allowing millennials to be comfortable at work is a good way to increase their job satisfaction. Two 23-year olds may have pointed this out, but any employer can benefit from making a few adjustments.
4. Keep the entire team involved.
No one wants to be thought of as nothing more than a worker bee. Additionally, employees resent it when higher level workers aren’t required to attend early morning meetings and audits. Something millennial entrepreneurs are doing differently is having every employee, from the CEO to the latest intern, pitch in at the same time.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone does the exact same tasks. However, it’s a morale booster for employees who are conducting an early morning audit to be accompanied by staff members from every department. Breaking down the typical hierarchy of the office may seem odd, but this level of team building and transparency should provide a positive boost for employees of all ages.
There are numerous leadership styles, but if your goal is to keep a team of millennials engaged and fully productive, it’s time to begin incorporating some newer techniques. If you’re being honest, wouldn’t everyone enjoy working in comfortable clothing, including you? It’s no wonder that this is exactly what Nomva’s two successful 23-year-old entrepreneurs decided to do.