How Employers Can Make Their Offices More Millennial Friendly
Cool company office cultures have become all the hype in recent years. The Apples, Googles and Facebooks of the world have created seemingly magical corporate offices — and seeing that those companies are often considered the most desirable employers, it's no wonder that all kinds of corporations are trying to create similar spaces to attract talent.
Some insurance firms have been able to capture a bit of the allure. A recent Wall Street Journal article covered the seemingly “dull” businesses that are adding basketball courts, beanbags and barbecue pits, including a brokerage in Denver that features a kegerator and pool table. Many of our MyPath partner organizations also boast cool campuses of their own, with on-site dry cleaning, roof decks and luxurious cafeterias.
All of these perks are surely enticing, but often they function more as indicators of a great culture, rather than as the cause of one. Sure, it would be nice if buying a few hammocks was all you needed to make your business a great place to work. Unfortunately, hammocks can't buy employee happiness.
Here are some ways to understand what talented young workers seek from an office culture and how to deliver that experience. If they happen to involve adding a foosball table, all the better.
Millennials have never even seen a punchcard, so it's no wonder that the idea of punching a clock sounds alien and uncomfortable. That's why the first step in welcoming young professionals to your business is deciding what business hours will be.
While your stated business hours can remain 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you should consider allowing employees to get to work, leave work and do other things during the day without fear of their bosses thinking they're slackers. There's a growing movement to make work less about how long you work and more about what you actually produce, making the amount of time you work almost irrelevant. If your company will always require an eight-hour workday, though, an alternative to consider is allowing employees to come in at their own preferred hours.
Providing this type of flexibility is something that can set insurance firms apart in order to attract the type of self-motivated young professionals they want and need.
Like punching a clock, the rigid structure of the cubicle is another relic of 20th century office environments that business owners should rethink. Open office designs have been popular for years now, but before you start knocking down walls, first consider any way you can simply foster more opportunities for collaboration.
Think of collaboration in both physical and communicative terms. People physically working together in meeting spaces is one way to encourage discussion, but so is making it clear that employees are encouraged to talk to colleagues and supervisors they might not otherwise associate with, such as coworkers in different departments. With the rise of office communication tools like Slack and teamwork platforms like Trello and Google Drive, employees can also collaborate constantly in the digital space, even if they're in different offices all over the globe.
Finding and creating these spaces and channels for employees to work together is another way insurers can shed the stodgy, straight-laced stereotype.
Spruce Up Your Space
Once you have those essentials in place, there is indeed something to be said about physical improvements. While it's true that millennials want more than an “Instagrammable office,” it’s more that they don't want to feel like they're working in a cave.
In a lot of ways, your physical surroundings do truly affect how you feel and how you work. While most of the companies implementing bright, open, colorful upgrades to their spaces are in the so-called creative fields of design and media, adding these elements to an insurance firm is no less important.
Designing an aesthetically pleasing workspace is often a clear way to show that your business is also open to fresh ideas to solve problems. That’s a clear business benefit as the insurance industry grapples with insuring new technologies and risks every day—and as traditional firms find themselves competing with tech insurance startups.
Does your insurance agency, brokerage or company have a cool office? Send us pictures! Post them to our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages, or send them in an email to SocialMedia@InsureMyPath.org. We may feature them in an upcoming story!