Reject The Cubicle: Attract and Retain Millennials

Attracting millennials has turned into a “best places to work” battle. Improving the work environment to increase employee engagement was the first step. Companies are now seeing that an upgraded office space can attract top talent. 
And it’s getting harder to make your refurbished environment stand out. According to the Labor Department, the average 25-year-old will have worked 6.3 jobs between the ages of 18 and 25. That means millennials are seeing a lot of work environments. Ping pong tables become the norm quickly.  
When job hopping is likened to dating, it makes sense that millennials take into account the work environment as much as the work itself. Job hunters are asking about daily responsibilities, possible promotions, and benefits — like whether there’s a sushi bar at the office or if they can bring dogs to work. 
But reengineering the office isn’t just about turning cubicles into ball pits. Workplace scholars are encouraging organizations to use science to revamp their environments so performance increases instead of distraction. That includes measuring team behavior and experimenting with small changes before making drastic overhauls. 
Companies can also collect market data about millennial trends to inform how they might revamp the employee experience. Young employees might prefer a Pandora One account to stay productive over access to the flower-shaped Post-it® Notes. Don’t forget to ask your current millennial employees what changes they’d like to see. Then expand to the rest of your workforce. You don’t want to run the risk of disengagement by overlooking the attitudes of all the current employees you already have. 
Adding perks could become distracting, though. Organizations should identify the behaviors they want to increase in their environment. If collaboration is key, the consider overlapping workspace. University of Michigan research showed that for every 100 feet of “zonal overlap,” collaborations increased by up to 20 percent. 
Changing the workplace to attract millennials might increase your pool of interested candidates, but don’t forget — top talent employers hope to attract are the ones interested in the work. Offering on-site yoga classes might be a great perk, but millennials will truly be engaged when they’re challenged by important projects, recognized for great performance, and have a direct impact on the company’s success. 
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