19 January 2017

Do you employ Millennials?

Although I couldn’t personally attend yesterday’s North West Business Insider event in Manchester, which looked the value of Generation Y in the workplace, it is a topic that is very close to my heart.

This generation, the oldest of whom turned 30 two years ago, make up by far the largest part of our team at UKFast. In fact, the average age in our offices is around 28.

These younger people keep my business running every day – helping our customers, building new products, teaching our apprentices – yet they so often get a bad rep for being ‘difficult to manage’.

I don’t believe this generation is any more ‘difficult’ to manage than the ones that came before, but they simply require a different approach.

In my experience, Millennials have very high expectations of what they want from work. They want to make an impact and be part of something that they can see to be making a lot of progress. In reality, this means that many change their jobs frequently, rather than looking for a more lasting fix internally.

I believe it’s a shame that this is why so many young people miss out the accomplishment of achieving something they have worked hard and long for. Finding a way of achieving this would be a benefit for employers as well as employees.

The idea of finding a job for life is one that was popular with older generations, but is considered outdated now. I don’t think it should be like that! It’s a concept that we should make more applicable to the younger generations once again. Why would we encourage a generation of unsatisfied job hoppers when we can build confident, happy, loyal teams?

So, how can we build workplaces where this could apply – where young people can really see a future for themselves?

In my opinion, creating a strong culture is the key. At UKFast, we want to create a team that feels like a family. We’ve put great effort into creating a workspace where people can feel at home and engage with each other, as well as take some time out in the gym or one of the breakout areas. But all the rewards we give to our team – such as nights out and trips abroad – are based on metrics, which plays to the competitive character of the team and gives everyone a clear short-term goal to work towards.

It took me a few years to realise the value of development and training, which applies to every generation, but to Generation Y in particular. I’ve realised how important it is for everyone in the team to be able to see the journey they are on within the company. Even if someone is not exactly where they want to be right now, there is almost always a way for them to get there eventually. Each member of our team is offered a structured training programme along with plenty of opportunities for future career progression. I do believe this is what makes us stand out from so many other organisations in providing long-term opportunities for those who have become used to instant gratification.

How do you engage Millennials in your workforce?

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