The Millennials are Coming! The Millennials are Coming! How to Adapt Your Small Business for Millennial Customers and Employees.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the country and in the workplace, meaning your company will deal with them in both the consumer and the workforce sectors. As a whole, they’ve certainly received a reputation in the media as far as work ethic and spending habits―both good and bad. It’s important to acknowledge that they’re different from previous generations in many different ways and tapping into these differences could be the key to your business success in both sales and productivity.
Millennials as Consumers
Cumulatively, the Millennial generation has an annual buying power of $200 billion and represents one-fourth of the US population. This leaves room for huge financial gain if you can successfully tap into this market. To do so requires a little bit of innovative thinking and a deeper look into your company, but it can be done if you address the following:
Establish Your Brand, Ethics & Purpose
A large item to take into consideration is the sheer amount of advocacy that Millennials participate in. They tend to be very outspoken and passionate in the terms of sociopolitical, environmental and economic issues. Establishing your brand and aligning it with positive causes (such as waste elimination or foreign aid) will go a long way with the Millennial consumer and help drive business in your direction. Make sure to get with your marketing team to determine the best strategy for revamping your image in ways that demonstrate your purpose to this demographic.
Strongly Market Via Social Media & Mobile Devices―But Don’t Make it a Sales Pitch
Millennials grew up with technology―they’ve seen the rapid progression from wall phones and VHS players to smartphones and virtual reality video games with new innovations arising on a near daily basis. This means that advertising to them in the traditional sense is a no-go―to them it’s inauthentic. Social media grants them access to other consumer opinions, videos and photos of products in use, and a plethora of other information, which they often use when determining which brands and products they prefer.
Take advantage of the fact that you can now directly reach out and interact with them. This gives you the ability to speak to the heart of their needs and wants as well as get to know what they want/need from you. So, how do you accomplish this?
- Hire a successful social media marketing team
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
- Establish a strong Internet/social media presence
- Develop apps for smart phones, tables & other devices
- Keep it current―immediacy is key
- Interact with your consumers
Build a Relationship & Co-Create
While this is true for all past generations, the Millennial generation is particularly receptive to companies that build relationships with their customers. Make sure that your company has a strong focus on customer service and loyalty. Also, give them the chance to co-create with you through suggestions or submissions. With a strong emphasis on progression, Millennials appreciate the opportunity for their thoughts, ideas and designs to be implemented. You can accomplish this through:
- Suggestion forums
- Social media contests or featured posts
- Online roundtable discussions
- Anonymous customer surveys
Millennials as Employees
As Millennials get older and more settled in their career paths and future goals, they simultaneously establish themselves in the workforce and work their way up the corporate ladder―in less than 10 years they’ll make up 75% of the workforce. With that in mind, Millennials tend to look for specific qualities in companies that they apply to. By adapting your company to fit some of the criteria they are looking for, you will not only increase your number of qualified applicants but your overall productivity as well.
Find the Work-Life Balance That Works
More often than not, the Millennial generation focuses on spending time with their families. The traditional 9 to 5 job with limited vacation time is less attractive and less accommodating to potential employees. Expand your company’s flexibility — allow for your younger employees to spend time with family by providing schedules that include multiple shift options, increased vacation time, remote work opportunities, half days on Friday or flexible hours. Now, please bear in mind that this does not mean you need to eliminate 8-hour work days, nor should you. But providing your employees with the opportunity to balance home and work life on a schedule that works for all goes a long way with this up and coming generation.
Increase Comforts at Work and Add Some Perks
Studies have found that Millennials focus less on salary than on the benefits offered at their companies. Having a comfortable lounge for your employees, hosting social events, increasing benefits and providing other comforts can drive up productivity and increase their motivation. Keep the company environment fun and comfortable as well as driven — this keeps positivity up and keeps Millennial employees in a productive mindset when they come to work.
Have a Strong Company Purpose/Mission
Finally, as is true with Millennial consumers, Millennial employees tend to align themselves with companies that have strong, positive values and a purpose that gives back to society. Make sure you have established a strong company culture and mission statement that is at the forefront of all that you do. Having a cause to support and work toward is a great motivator for many of your Millennial employees and increases their drive to do well within the company, thus increasing their productivity. Posting your mission somewhere in the building where it is clearly visible helps to reaffirm your commitment, which raises its importance in the eyes of your employees.
Get Ahead of the Curve―Start Adapting Now!
Now that you have a starting point to make your company more accessible for the Millennial generation, it’s time to start upgrading your marketing strategies, looking into benefits and establishing your company’s culture and brand. Start looking at your finances to determine what changes you can make immediately and what changes should go on the back burner. A skilled accountant can help you get your budget set up for the short-term and long-term, so you can focus on preparing your company for its bright and lucrative future.
Need more ideas on how to budget for your employee benefits and marketing services? Call us at Beaton Accounting today―we’re always happy to help! 631-921-6894
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