Guest Post by Brill Street + Company‘s Communication Director, Laura VanHolstyn.
Since 2009, Brill Street has been ranking the Top 50 Employers for Gen Y Emerging Talent in Chicago.
How do we know what makes a top employer for Gen Y? We ask Gen Y!
In 2012, we surveyed Gen Y professionals across the nation, asking what was important in an employer. What would they consider first when evaluating an employer? What did their ideal work environment look like? Did they prefer working in an office or at home? It’s no surprise; Gen Y had a lot of opinions.
Today, we are sharing the 10 factors Gen Y rated as overall most influential in their evaluation of an employer. Each of these factors was rated as important to more than 92 percent of Gen Y.
1. A collaborative work environment
Gen Y truly is a generation of team players, and they want to collaborate with their colleagues. Gen Y went through school participating in group projects, and they are a social generation – why not use it to your business’ advantage?
2. Recognition for achievements
For Gen Y, recognition may look different than Gen X and Boomers have come to expect. It
doesn’t need to be a fast rise to the top, or promotion after promotion. It can be as simple as recognizing a job well done. Gen Y is a digital generation. Virtual ‘high-fives’ and congratulatory Tweets will resonate with your Gen Y employees to energize and motivate them.
3. Challenging work
Gen Y wants to be challenged. They want to do work that makes them think harder, innovate more and press the boundaries. They want to feel as though they are contributing to the success of the company, even from day one.
4. Paid vacation days
It may be a clich, but ‘work hard, play hard’ was a common theme with the employees at our Top 50 companies. Employers understand that time off is necessary; our Top 50 even included three companies with unlimited paid vacation days.
5. Clear communication of missions and goals
It would be difficult to recognize employees for doing well, if they weren’t sure what success looked like in the first place. Share your expectations with employees from the beginning, so they have an understanding of where they are going. Set goals and allow them input.
6. Leadership opportunities
Gen Y is notorious for wanting to grow within a company. We’ve heard this before. Similar to recognition for achievements, opportunity means more than just a promotion. It could mean taking on ownership of a specific aspect of a project, or taking on an internal role outside of working with clients.
7. Colleagues that challenge me
Gen Y doesn’t only want work that makes them think, they want co-workers who are going to push them to improve as well. Cultivate an environment which encourages employees to ask questions of each other and to push each other to grow.
8. Flexible work hours
When we asked Gen Y what their ideal work hours were, they overwhelmingly answered that they preferred a regular schedule, with the flexibility make exceptions as appropriate. When we spoke with Gen Y employees at our Top 50, they told us that it wasn’t about always working strange hours; what really mattered was that their leaders trusted them to make that call.
9. Two-way communication with company leadership and employees
Two-way communication goes hand-in-hand with a lot of these factors. Communication across all levels, and going both directions, enables a collaborative work environment, colleagues who challenge each other, clearly defined goals and leadership opportunities. Ask your Gen Y employees their opinion and foster an environment where even high-level leaders are approachable.
10. Insurance coverage
Health coverage is a benefit typically driven by the needs of your Boomer and Gen X employees, but don’t discount Gen Y. Our research found the quality of coverage was more important to Gen Y than the cost of their contribution. They may be looking for different types of coverage than older generations, but engage them in the conversation.
Which of these factors have you already implemented in your workplace? Which ones have you found challenges with?