In truth, companies and candidates of all ages would benefit from implementing the strategies below. However, if you’re seeking to refresh your workforce with some younger perspectives and energy, these changes will be instrumental in attracting a younger workforce to your company. Why? Look at founders of companies from the millennial generation - you will see the stark difference between how they run their business and how companies of the previous centuries worked. Think of Steve Bartlett’s Social Chain, with its slides and ball-pool, or Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s Google, with its nap and massage room, and compare it to the industrial factories and boring offices of the past. But while some millennials are off developing these innovative new businesses themselves, there are still many other millennials looking for jobs in the ordinary working world. So why not make your own business more “millennial-friendly” too?
One way to start changing your company culture is to outwardly show the change you want to see. Any good architect can tell you all about the impact space has on the way people act. You can’t simply announce a cultural shift. If you do, it’s likely your staff will either ignore it or forget about it within a few days. And when you’re interviewing your younger candidates, you are going to need some visuals to prove the nature of your company. Visuals that show your company aims for high productivity and motivation, as well as a caring environment for staff wellbeing, will be a strong perk for the young candidate.
Consider hiring an architect who can align your company goals with a revamped office space. If hiring an architect is a far stretch from your budget, remember you don’t need a giant slide to create a productive environment on par with the famous “Google-Officeplex”. For instance, you might have an aim to increase productivity by introducing more regular working breaks (check the studies on this – it works!). So, simply place a sofa in one corner of your office with some plump cushions and magazines. Or, if you are looking to increase motivation, you might want to place a few inspirational quotes around your office walls. Subtle changes can go a long way.
Creating an environment that is both friendly to those with mental health problems and helps to prevent future mental health problems is not exactly a ‘perk’ for your candidate. In fact, it is essential. In 2017, the BBC reported that young people are disproportionately affected by mental health problems. There is now a great responsibility on all institutions hiring or caring for young people to ensure they are doing everything they can to create mental-health-friendly working environments.
Nevertheless, certain ways of dealing with mental health in your business can be advertised as perks. For instance, offering “duvet-days” or “mental health days” is a new trend with many businesses to encourage employees to take time off for self-care. Young candidates are asking potential employers about this more and more. Furthermore, since physical and mental health go hand-in-hand many businesses are also offering cycle-to-work schemes. Put simply, these schemes provide financial assistance for the buying or renting of a bike so more of their staff can use their commuting time to stay healthy.
Over recent decades, hundreds of headlines have discussed the now well-known buzz phrase ‘work-life balance’. But its not just a passing fad. If you take the previous note on the mental health crisis seriously, you can see its importance for the younger generation. Not only will allowing your staff to alter their working hours will likely increase their happiness and therefore productivity, the European Commission’s Directive on Work-Life Balance 2017 1 showed the importance of allowing flexitime by enabling working parents (with children up to 12 years of age) and working carers the right to request flexitime. Instead of waiting for your employees and potential candidates to request the flexitime, show everyone upfront you are on board. The younger generation, who have grown up in a world in which these kinds of laws are being passed and discussed, will surely be impressed.
Clearly, providing all employees and candidates of all ages the perks listed above should enhance the happiness and productivity of your staff. But it is the younger generation that can be the most demanding when it comes to ensuring their wellbeing and working lives are valued in their company – and quite right too! So if you are looking for some young talent to join your ranks, you will have to jump aboard this new wave of changes to work life.
1. European Commission. (2017) Work-Life Balance Directive. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1494929657775&uri=CELEX:52017PC0253 [Accessed 10 September 2018]