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How to get Millennials to work for you

They’re the next generation of your workforce but getting them to work for you could be harder than you think. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Millennials are our future. It is estimated that Millennials will account for more than half of the global workforce by 2020.

BE 6 Oct a

And if you’re a small business then you’re in luck. Most Millennials – those aged between 18 and 35 – would prefer to work for an SME than a large company, according to a new report from Lloyds Commercial Banking.

But that’s not the only thing that drives their choice of career. Here we take a look at the top factors at play when someone from Generation Y chooses a company to work for – and how you can lure them to your small business.

1. Salary

Nearly half (49%) of those questioned ranked salary as their No. 1 reason for taking a job. This could be because they’ve suffered through the economic downturn and know that to buy a home they have to maximise their earning potential.

As a small business, it can be hard to match salaries of larger companies. But if you find the right person, it is worth negotiating over pay.

While you might not be able to match starting salaries with large firms, over time they could earn more with you as your company expands. You can also offer other incentives like work-related bonuses or shares in the company.

2. Flexible hours

Over a third (35%) of the Millennials surveyed want flexible working hours. The days of the 9 to 5 office are a thing of the past, and your business needs to adapt to this.

As long as it’s viable with your company’s working practices, there’s no reason why people can’t choose their own start and finish times.

Letting people start earlier and finish earlier means they can avoid the rush hour when commuting and have more free time in the evening. As long as they are getting the work done, when they do it shouldn’t matter.

As a small business, you should be agile enough to accommodate this and it can be a great advantage over more rigidly structured large firms.

3. Career development

Alongside flexible hours is career development, with 35% prioritising this when applying for a new job. Millennials are an ambitious bunch, having been raised on stories like Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to fame.

As a small business, this should be something you can accommodate. Unlike large firms that have strict hierarchies or a queue of more qualified people ahead of you in the promotion food chain, small firms can adapt and create new roles for ambition workers.

Let new starts know that the world is their oyster – if they want to be running their own department in 5 years, let them go for it.

4. Training

Going hand-in-hand with career development is training. 28% of those surveyed say training opportunities at a new company are important.

This can be expensive for small businesses but it is often worth the investment. It’s better – and often cheaper – to train people yourself than to hire someone who has gained the training and experience elsewhere.

If your young team are eager for training that you can’t afford, offer them a contribution towards the cost plus time off to do the course as a compromise.

It’s also worth doing some of the training yourself to save costs – everyone in your company will have certain skills; it’s time to share them.

5. Benefits

A quarter of Millennials want some form of benefits package when starting their new job. This could include anything from additional pension contributions to extended holidays, career breaks or medical insurance.

As a small business, the benefits you could offer or highlight include:
• Childcare vouchers: This Government scheme works as a salary sacrifice.
• Car allowance: Some companies offer money towards a company car
• Interest-free travel loan: Especially important for those commuting long distances to work; it means they can buy cheaper season tickets and pay back the cost over time. You could also look into Cycle to Work schemes.
• Sabbaticals: Usually offered as a month’s unpaid leave after a certain amount of time worked eg 5 years.
• Profit share: A great way to help reduce the pay gap with bigger firms

6. Work from home

While flexible hours are important, working from home is less so with just 22% prioritising it. But with new flexible working legislation and technology allowing people to work remotely more easily, expect this to become more important in the future.

As a small business you should be able to accommodate remote working. It’s a great way to save on office space costs as well, with hot-desking in the office and remote working available to all staff.

Remote workers have also proven to be more productive and it means your job search can go nationwide instead of being restricted by your local area.

7. Location

The survey found that London isn’t the big draw it once was. Over half (51%) are happy to move anywhere for the right job, while 35% don’t want to move away from home. In fact, just 8% say they would only work in London.

With remote working, flexible hours and London’s ever-rising house prices, being located in the capital doesn’t hold the same sway it once did for young workers.

This is great news for small firms who can set up their bases in more affordable areas and use day offices or meeting rooms when they need to visit the capital.