In just a decade Millennials–people born sometime between the early 1980s and early 2000s–will make up 75 percent of the workforce worldwide. It’s going to mean big changes for society considering they’re vastly different kind of workers compared with the generations that have come before them. One thing is certain: If you’re a company that plans to be alive in the future you’re going to need to find a way to attract Millennials. Ashu Desai, co-founder of San Francisco-based Make School, a new alternative to the four-year Computer Science degree, says he knows how to do it. First off, he’s a Millennial himself, as are all of Make School’s 15 employees. Here’s his advice for how to get Millennials excited about working for your company.
Be a company that does good in the world.
Thanks to the always-on nature of the Internet, mobile devices and social media, transparency is now a valuable currency. As a result, mission-driven companies who tell their stories are going to attract younger workers more than organizations purely driven by profit. “[Millennials] want to work in fields that are changing the world for the better,” Desai says.
Foster a workplace that feels like a group of friends.
If Millennials are going to spend their precious time at your company, they want to enjoy it, which means feeling as if they get to hang out with buddies while cranking out their work. How to make it happen? Hire people who are positive, optimistic and open-minded and who will be willing to be friends with people who don’t fit the mold of the people they’ve been friends with in the past. Desai suggests spending time with prospects before hiring them to make sure they have a personality that will fit in with your team. He also points to payments platform Stripe–another company founded by Millennials–and its “Sunday Test.” It’s the idea of only hiring likeable people who would make you want to come into the office and hang out if they were working on a Sunday.
Give them autonomy.
Nobody likes being micro-managed, but Millennials are particularly averse to having a manager’s fingers all over their work. “If you think about what helps drive people, autonomy is one of the big things that gives people ownership, makes them feel like they’ve invested and have an impact on the company,” he says. It means listening to their input, as well. “Our employees don’t want to deal with bosses who think they know everything… They want people who are willing to listen to advice and feedback so they can actually influence the company direction.”
Lead with honesty and transparency.
Not only do Millennials loathe taking orders, they want to understand what decisions are being made and why. They also want to work for bosses who show their vulnerability and don’t act like they know everything. “You’ll feel more connected to someone who has revealed a problem to you [because] people inherently like helping each other,” he says.