By Rieva Lesonsky
As a business owner today, you need to know how to attract, work with and keep Generation Y employees. I’ve worked with a lot of them–in my former role as a magazine editor, we had a constant influx of young interns, assistants and other entry-level employees. These were some of the nicest, smartest, and most creative people I’ve ever met. (You guys know who you are.)
But lots of entrepreneurs don’t take full advantage of what Gen Y has to offer. This is a huge mistake. Gen Y workers have creative ideas that can revitalize how you run your business. And when it comes to using technology, they have more know-how than most us.
To attract Gen Y workers, make sure your company is a fun place to work. Young employees also demand lots of input and feedback from the boss. Being able to interact with you regularly is a perk of working at a small company for them. Informal workplaces work best for Gen Y. Lucky for small business owners, our companies naturally tend to have all of these features.
When you’ve landed some Gen Y employees on your team, take advantage of their skills. Above and beyond their job duties, find out what they like to do in their free time. If your new administrative assistant is a Facebook fanatic or creates YouTube videos every weekend, why not have him take charge of your company’s social media presence on Facebook or film some product demos for you to post on your site? If your company targets young adults with its products or services, regularly get your Gen Y employees’ input on what they like and don’t like about your company’s offerings, advertising or brand.
If you’re a baby boomer like I am, you may remember your early days in the workplace as a time when you had to prove yourself and work your way up slowly. Gen Y employees don’t have patience with that, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These employees won’t put up with poor treatment or seeing their skills ignored. They’d rather move back in with Mom and Dad. So treat them well—and you’ll reap the rewards of their enthusiasm, energy and loyalty.