A 9-5 working week, 4 weeks holiday a year, and a corner desk were once considered perks to a job, creating satisfaction and loyalty.
Todays businesses need to be much more savvy if they want to attract and retain key talent.
The so called ‘millenials’ have a different set of expectations; these days potential employees are searching for more of a work/life balance, and a greater sense of fulfilment from their jobs. They are more discerning. The structure of work has broken down and shifted, and small business owners must take note of this new, progressive environment, or risk missing great talent.
So here’s my challenge to you – be daring! Be more ‘millenial’ in your business thinking. Treat your potential employees like potential customers; ask yourself, ‘what is my USP as an employer? What can I bring to the table that will attract the best candidates – who will in turn bring success to my business?’ Create a sense of excitement and buzz about working in your business. You can inject some leading edge, and highly valued innovation, into your HR policies and practices that will in turn breed success, both with recruitment and maintaining employee satisfaction.
Here are ten of my current favourite examples of millennial thinking; innovative HR practices and policies currently being used by employers currently competing against you for the best quality staff……
- Workplace and corporate wellbeing schemes
Progressive-thinking companies understand that people are their most important asset. What better way to demonstrate your value for your staff than investing in their health and wellbeing. Investing in your employees’ mental and physical health can be of enormous benefit to company productivity. Consider the benefits of providing workplace access to services such as nutritional advice, yoga, massage and mindfulness. As well as delivering a powerful recruitment message to potential top class candidates, consider the practical day-to-day benefits of these schemes such as reduction in your employee stress levels, improved attrition, reduced sickness absence and a generally refreshed and re-engaged workforce.
- “Owning” unused holiday entitlement
Annual leave days are technically an employee’s to use as he or she sees fit. If they don’t use them, for whatever reason, a fresh idea is to let them donate them to another employee. Perhaps the beneficiary is taking a trip around the world, or preparing for a life-changing event. The point is that the business acknowledges the employee earned these days, and can dole them out without company involvement. Google practices this policy, with great success. In France, there is a fabulously pioneering scheme, enabling workers to donate holiday days of their own to a colleague with a sick child. Just wow!
- Giving time off for volunteering
Businesses are stepping up and becoming good corporate citizens, and some are encouraging their staff to do the same. Experian, for example, offers up to three paid days for employees to volunteer. Days off to work in a soup kitchen, or volunteer at a hospital are worth their weight in gold at building a well-rounded, happy employee who works hard for the privilege of being part of the greater good. With Experian staff stating it as a key reason for working there, it’s as no surprise that offering time off for volunteering is increasingly high on the HR agenda of many a pioneering company today.
- Customising the position for the talent
Progressive business owners are ditching job descriptions, opting for building the position based on an employee’s strengths and interests. While challenging, this new practice is highly successful if moulded correctly. It takes a mix of knowing the employees, and accurately measuring their skill sets.
- Getting rid of job titles
Looked upon as old and stodgy, renegade companies are refusing to pigeonhole employees with one title. The opinion here is that titles stifle creativity and produces an unproductive hierarchy. Removing them fosters a more united, cohesive team of employees.
Blinkist, the 15 minute book app people, have eliminated job titles completely. What’s in a name? Nothing but trouble according to them! They abolished job titles and launched their most-requested feature in record time. They are now positively evangelical about why job titles are detrimental to success and how getting rid of them can revolutionise an organisation.
6. Two-way mentoring
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. While newer employees learn invaluable product knowledge and process requirements from company veterans, seasoned employees can get their imaginations sparked, absorb new technology, and discover new “hacks” from the newbies. Smart companies tap into the mentoring relationship as a back-and-forth, not up-to-down.
- Setting up workplace flexibility as the new normal
Focusing less on work/life balance, and more on the integration of life and work, is a paradigm that is emerging in the workplace. It’s all about how a company values the contribution of an employee, not just the physical hours worked. Time off for appointments and leaving early for school plays brings about loyalty and satisfaction in employees. I can testify here. I’ve adopted this approach with my own business and as a result I’ve been able to attract and retain the best candidates available – and keep them!
- Providing free food
Many tech and Internet companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Dropbox and Etsy provide creative in-house food programs to their employees. By providing in-house dining options, it is used as a recruitment and retention tool. For these businesses, it is a way to draw people to their company and keep them there. According to Gabriel Cole of Fare Resources, “it helps employees to be productive and engaged.” Now – everybody older than 40 knows full well that that there’s no innovation here!! Subsidised work canteens were once an oft-seen norm. However, with seismic shifts in social demographics and lifestyles, onsite catering could be an incredibly alluring prospect for potential millennial candidates – lets face it, it is no longer uncommon for new town and city apartments to be built without kitchens. Time is in short supply these days and people are increasingly attracted to quick fix meal solutions.
- Offering referral bonuses
According to research, referrals are statistically higher for hiring better employees with higher retention rates. Recruitment by referrals works well because employees at your company are familiar with the work culture and values. High performing employees will be more likely to refer candidates with similar qualities.
Savvy employers operating in a tight labour market realise the value of enlisting staff as head-hunters. Not only does cutting out advertising and agency middlemen slash the recruitment bill, the chances are that a skilled reliable worker will bring on board a like-minded cohort.
Now I admit, staff referral schemes are nothing new, but they are still only used in about a third of UK companies, and less so in smaller businesses. The benefits of this method of recruitment are obvious. The only fee goes to the employee referring the newcomer, and the cost is at the employer’s discretion.
No, you won’t see these ten practices in every office. However, the businesses that embrace one or more of these progressive practices will enjoy higher employee satisfaction, greater morale, and more competitive talent recruiting.
So, I challenge you. Give me a call and ask me how we can inject some leading edge, and highly valued innovation, into your HR policies and practices that will in turn breed success, both with attracting and retaining the best talent, and having highly engaged employees!