While we spend a great deal of time writing for interior designers here, we also work with a large number of “to the trade” and “retail” furnishings and furniture stores. With that in mind, it might be practical to take a look at the rapidly changing staffing needs for these types of outlets.
Who are millennials and what do they want?
Millennials are the 18 to 34 year olds who are driving many of the latest trends in music, technology, film, fashion, and just about everything else. Yet, these young people are making a huge impression on the American workforce, with a larger presence than any other age group. In general, millennials view and value work and life differently than older generations have done in the past.Understanding these differences, and creating workplace policies to recruit, manage, and retain these young and idealistic people as they begin to dominate the U.S. labor force, will be critical to the long-term health of your furnishings business. For millennials, and for you, being perceived as an "employer of choice" is essential.Here are some of the fringe benefits that attract this younger, values-based group of potential employees:
- Health Plans – These light users of medical services prefer plans that include employer's cash contributions, higher deductibles, and low monthly premiums.
- Wellness Benefits – Free Onsite Yoga, or other fitness classes, allow millennials to stay fit and socially interact with peers. Telemedicine services are also popular with these tech-savvy young folks.
- Parental Leave – Paid leave for new parents, BOTH new parents, and subsidized child care are a hit with young parents.
- College Debt Relief – The average millennial carries a college loan debt of around $34,000, so help is welcome.
- Flexible Scheduling – Combine sick leave and vacation benefits, allowing them to control their time off. The use of sabbaticals is also becoming popular.
- Regular Feedback – Young workers appreciate frequent reviews and rewards throughout the year, rather than a typical annual review cycle.
- Professional Development & Ongoing Training – Millennials are determined to keep their job skills up to date. Create programs that will update skills and challenge them, if you hope to keep them from jumping ship to your competitor.
It cannot be emphasized enough that millennials view themselves as values-based, ethical members of society and the work force. For them, caring for others, sustainability, and “green” thinking and action weigh heavily in their long-term plans – for work and life. Ultimately, they hope to find a balance between work and life that they believe previous generations may have lacked.Keeping these things in mind about hiring millennials will go a long way toward helping you build, and keep, a high quality workforce when staffing your retail furnishings or furniture store.