Want to Nab Top, Young Talent? Millennial-Proof Your Office.

Millennial-proofing your office, like, goes so beyond ping-pong tables and yoga classes.

learn more about Christian Lanng

By Christian Lanng • Apr 24, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Any company that plans to compete and grow in the near future needs to have an effective strategy for recruiting and retaining young, bright talent. Otherwise, known as the millennial demographic.

To make sure your business benefits from the knowledge and insight these Gen-Yers bring and to create an environment of collaboration between all generations, you need to millennial-proof your company. This entails more than just bringing in modern furniture, free snacks and onsite yoga classes (though those help, too). Millennial-proofing requires a full re-think of company processes, policies and paradigms.

Before you being your office overhaul to appease the younger generation, keep these tidbits in mind:

Transiting from 'because we said so' to innovation. Millennials ask why. They have been brought up to look at things critically. Perhaps it's because they are entering the workforce at a time when innovation is happening at the speed of light, but if an internal process is broken, they will want to fix it. If a task takes too long or is too complicated, they will look for a way to speed up and simplify the process.

Related: 6 Keys to Developing Millennials Into Managers

Companies need to think about replacing ancient processes with new and intuitive technology to attract and keep millennial workers. Millennials use modern software to track their fitness progress, stay in touch with friends, and organize photos. They expect this same level of high functionality in the workplace.

While adopting the latest technology is good for recruitment and retention, additional benefits include a fluid workflow and efficient employees. When employees have the right tools, they perform better. When employees perform better, the whole company thrives.

Focus more on a collaborative environment. One of the big themes that are repeated as millennials take hold of the work force is collaboration -- anything from more open workspaces to online-work platforms is fair game. A collaborative environment is one that's conducive to growth, entrepreneurship, and immediate response and feedback in every department -- from creative to sales and finance.

The first five steps for millennial-proofing your business.

For large, global companies, implementing new processes can't happen overnight. The sooner these businesses start the migration to modern practices the better, but in the meantime, here are a few steps that company leaders can take to start the millennial-proofing process:

1. Think digital and mobile. From vendor invoices to HR paperwork, the more that can be handled online and in the easy-to-access cloud, the better. Encourage employees to attend industry events where they will learn about new practices and technologies that people in similar roles are using. It's a small time and money investment that will help your company stay ahead of the business-technology curve.

Related: 5 'Bad' Millennial Traits That Are Actually Good for Entrepreneurs

2. Get everyone on board. Schedule meetings with all departments to discuss how new technology could improve their daily tasks. The simplest additions, such as a cloud storage account or a bring-your-own-device program, could make a huge difference. Offer incentives to employees that find ways to improve company or department processes.

3. Be flexible. Less than one third of millennials expect to work regular office hours, according to a recent PWC Millennials survey. Try allowing employees to work one day per week from home. This fosters a culture of trust and can be very beneficial for employee/employer relationships.

4. Don't prohibit social media. Instead, allow access to social media and encourage employees to use social sites for networking and inspiration purposes. Millennials see social media as a necessary way to stay connected to colleagues and news. Indeed a third of millennials prioritize "social-media freedom" above salary when considering an employment opportunity, according to a study at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

5. Encourage input. Create or adopt an office-wide system for employees to provide feedback on company processes and practices they would like to see rejiggered.

Related: Millennial Misconceptions: How You're Totally Wrong About This Generation

Christian Lanng

Christian Lanng is the CEO and co-founder of Tradeshift, a global-business platform connecting enterprises with their suppliers and simplifying vendor relationships. 

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