In popular media, the word Millennial is thrown around as a synonym for young people in general. But in reality, the term Millennial specifically speaks to people who are born between 1982 and 2000 (ages 19-36).

They’re defined by historic, technological and cultural events including:

  • Having an Internet connection in their home as a child
  • Growing up in the post 9/11 era and the Great Recession
  • Feeling impacted by the rise of Google, social media, online dating and e-commerce
  • Growing up in after-school sports, arts or educational programs instead of being latchkey kids
  • Being raised in a more egalitarian household than previous generations

This is a generation with high expectations of their employers – but they also set high standards for themselves, and by 2020, millennials will account for nearly half of the workforce. Baby Boomer, Flower Children and Gen Xer business owners need to have strategies in place to help develop the leaders of tomorrow.

Take a look at these tips for guiding the next generation and how to adapt the modern workplace to set Millennials up for success:

Allow for Self-Directed Growth Opportunities

Millennials enjoy a workplace that demonstrates a commitment to employee growth. A tip for companies is to create a compensation or organizational structure that allows Millennials to set business-based and personal goals. Creating a personal development plan for growth within the company will keep employees engaged and focused with the ability to seek a long-lasting future within the business.

Have a Positive, Proactive Company Mission and Vision

According to a 2016 survey by Deloitte, Millennials feel that 75 percent of businesses are focused solely on their own agendas rather than helping to improve society. To prove them wrong, companies need to be charitable and show a vested interest in social activism. This includes encouraging the charitability of employees by regularly donating, adding a social responsibility focus to their mission, or going on team outings to focus on giving back to the causes and communities they care about.

Adopt a Flexible Working Environment

Millennials often seek a flexible work-life balance in terms of the hours they work and the location they work from. In fact, this is so important to them that they would rather be rewarded in this way than by monetary compensation. Flexible working hours give people a better relationship with work and allow them to focus on the quality of the results they achieve, rather than how many hours they spend in the office. It also gives them the time and headspace to think more creatively and to focus on a task without the constant distractions that offices often cultivate.

Break Down Traditional Hierarchies

Millennials love to disrupt the work game by embracing transparency, openness and authenticity. They need to be given free rein to get their creative juices flowing, leverage fresh ideas and overperform. It is important to provide them with that open environment and trust that they won’t misuse the freedom. It is up to you and your management team to decide to what extent freedom is acceptable, and in what form.

Like every generation before them, Millennials face big challenges as they continue to enter the workforce. But more importantly, employers need to take a step back and realize that by helping their employees succeed, they find success too. A more positive work environment helps superstar Millennial talent flourish because they feel supported by their leaders and teammates – that’s a workforce that will drive everyone forward.