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The Generation Game: How to attract (and retain) millennial workers

As more and more Millennials are entering the workforce the challenge of attracting them and keeping them is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s a dilemma that most industries are facing but it’s a particular problem in hospitality where we not only tend to rely heavily on our younger workers to take the physical strain and make a crucial client-facing difference, but also where a regular injection of new energy and fresh ideas is vitally important if we’re going to keep drawing happy customers through our doors.

For many of us who were born pre-1980 (a Millennial is defined as being born between 1982 and 1996), Millennials can sometimes seem like an alien species. But the Millennial stereotype – somebody who is permanently attached to their smartphone and wants an easy life – couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the professional, personal and lifestyle choices most Millennials are making are actively redefining the world we live in, often for the better.

So how can we make the hospitality industry more Millennial-friendly? And how can you make your business or venue somewhere that your hard-working Millennials will want to stay?

What’s your company’s X Factor?

The good news is that Millennials are perfect for the hospitality industry because they’re more driven by job satisfaction than immediate financial gain. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t make their salary as competitive as possible, but it’s other factors that are going to keep them happy and loyal.

Millennials are looking for stability. They like to be recognised as individuals and allowed the freedom to act on their own initiative. They also appreciate being challenged with new activities and feeling like they are part of a community where their voice is heard, and their opinions are truly valued. They are also quite traditional in their approach, which means that venues like hotels could especially benefit from having them on their team. But there are a few things you should think about if you truly want to keep your Millennial employees productive and satisfied.

According to a recent study by Mindspace and One Poll, 31% of British Millennials find their workplace “uninspiring and boring”, with 20% indicating that their work environment makes them feel stressed. So, if you want to attract Millennials and hold onto them, take a look at the opportunities and facilities you’re offering and boost them wherever possible.

How can you help them grow professionally?

A Millennial’s job is also their lifestyle so, engaging their passion, appreciating their hard work, and offering them the chance to develop within their career is tremendously important. Millennials want to succeed, and nothing will make them jump ship faster than the fear they’ll be trapped permanently in their current role with an ungrateful employer. That’s why you should always stay positive and give them something to aim for and, even when your Millennials could be doing better, make your criticism constructive.

Millennials enjoy feeling connected to other members of the team, so factor in regular team-building activities and off-site social functions. When you communicate with them individually, especially if it’s something important you need to say, avoid sending an email whenever possible. Millennials appreciate open and honest face-to-face conversation, and the tone of emails can easily be misunderstood.

Try to make your offices and break-out areas are as attractive and welcoming as possible. Even free tea and coffee and subsidised meals can make a huge difference to morale.

Establish a healthy edge

Fitness and well-being are also high on the Millennial agenda, so give them access to on-site facilities like a gym or swimming pool wherever possible or consider offering reduced membership rates to the nearest health club or spa. Also, be clear that their health and happiness is your priority and that your door is always open if they have a problem. Millennials are sometimes referred to as the ‘stressed-out generation’ (another less-than-fair stereotype), and a little consideration on your part can earn big rewards in staff performance and longevity.

Finally, offering flexibility in working hours can also be a big plus. We know that’s easier said than done in the roster-driven hospitality industry, but maybe you could let staff leave early from time-to-time or reward a job that’s been particularly well done with an unexpected day off? In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small way to say thank you, and everyone you manage (not just your Millennials) will definitely appreciate it.

So, as you can see, making your hotel or venue Millennial-friendly isn’t as difficult as the headlines would have us believe. Even better, if you extend the same levels of care and consideration to all your staff – regardless of their generation – we guarantee you’ll have a very happy workforce.

If you’d like to talk to us about getting more Millennials into your company, call 020 7580 4398 or email info@primerec.co.uk.

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