The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “How can you help millennials feel like they’re part of the company?” is written by Ed Mitzen, founder of Fingerpaint Marketing.
Over one-third of our workforce at Fingerpaint are millennials. This isn’t surprising, given the nature of our business in advertising, marketing, public relations, and social media. To be able to reach younger audiences these days, we rely heavily on the influence and ideas these groups bring to our firm. By having a plethora of millennial employees, it makes them feel like the company truly values their skills and ideas.
So with that in mind, rather than having a nearly 50-year-old man like myself spout on and on about how we make millennials feel like part of our company, I asked them what they felt impacted them the most. They came up with three areas that deeply resonate with their demographic.
Eliminate fear from the office
Having a truly collaborative culture where everyone in the room genuinely feels like their voice is being heard is truly valued by millennials. Knowing they can speak up without fear of rejection, even though they might not have as much “real world” experience as their baby boomer colleagues, has a big impact. Onboarding with the leadership team or key stakeholders of an organization can also help a millennial feel as though they are a vital part of the company.
Our firm doesn’t utilize a traditional title system. Rather we group people by function so that no one feels “less than” a coworker. I have learned over the years that great ideas can come from all levels of the organization, so I wanted to foster that belief, rather than rely on more traditional methods.
Not having job titles provides millennials a unique opportunity to learn and grow without feeling the pressure of being in a room of vice presidents. It allows someone with less experience to feel comfortable openly bringing forth ideas while feeling like a valued contributor to the team.
Pair them with mentors
Establishing a mentoring program for millennials within your organization offers them the knowledge and experience of someone senior within the company (and most likely the industry). It also creates a greater sense of responsibility for millennials, driving them to perform beyond expectations.
Mentors can work with millennials to roadmap their future paths within the organization. This shows that you can see them growing with the company and don't see their current role as a dead end. Mentors also reinforce millennials’ confidence that they can positively contribute to the company’s overall success.
Keep them informed
A vital way to show millennials they are valued is including them in companywide communications, so they feel in the know about current business endeavors. Ask them to participate in surveys or get their feedback on company processes. Also, make sure that millennials have a seat at the table during training events.
Recently, we had an improv training program, designed to teach staff how to be present in the moment, improve listening skills, and adapt while engaged in conversations with customers. Often companies restrict training to senior-level executives or those who have more customer interaction responsibilities. During our training, the millennial participants were blown away by what they learned, and told us that they appreciated being included.
Millennials want to know that they’re making a difference in someone’s life, in the company, in the community, and in the world. At Fingerpaint, we emphasize charity, and even have a dedicated philanthropist on staff to drive our company efforts in this area. Millennials see this, and want to be a part of a company that values giving back as much, if not more, than profitability.