More than one in three American labor force participants are millennials. This makes them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
As of 2017, 56 million millennials are working or looking for work. That’s more than the 53 million gen-xers, who accounted for one third of the labor force. And it was well ahead of the 41 million baby boomers, who represented just a quarter of the total.
This means that if you aren’t already being managed by a millennial, you almost certainly have them working for you. Unlike the gen-xers and the baby boomers, millennials have developed work characteristics and tendencies from doting parents, structured lives, and contact with diverse people.
Companies need to meet the needs and expectations of their millennial workers to build a work environment in which they are happy and can succeed. Studies have shown that social bonds have a huge impact on efficiency and happiness in the workplace.
In 2015, The Go Game polled millennials to get a better understanding of team building. They discovered that 79 percent of millennials found that team or culture building activities in their organization significantly helped retain talent, while only 46 percent of baby boomers felt the same.
So we know that millennials see the value in team building activities and generating a strong company culture. Here are a few ideas to really engage your millennial employees, boost happiness and cultivate an atmosphere of success and productivity.
Millennials tend to be very socially conscious, giving more to charity every year than any other demographic. You can help foster a strong company culture of social awareness by creating team building initiatives around charities.
Volunteering in the community is the ideal team building activity for the millennial generation. Many members of this generation are passionate about social or environmental issues, meaning there are endless opportunities to schedule a day of volunteering that would get everyone on the team excited. Get your team together and ask for their thoughts on what kind of volunteering activity everyone should do. Have them share what causes are close to their heart. This discussion alone will help create bonds between your team. Then, see if anyone has any contacts with local organizations and go out there and make the world a better place.
2. 5K Run
Grab your trainers and get your teams to sponsor themselves to run, walk or crawl 5K for the charity of your choice. Not only will the event itself be a powerful bonding experience, the training beforehand will help foster relationships within the team.
3. Team Bake Sale
A quick browse through Instagram will reveal how much Millennials love baking. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 49 percent of millennials said that they enjoyed baking as a pastime. Put that culinary prowess to work in developing your company culture by encouraging bake sales for charity, or even just as everyday treats for the rest of the team.
Millennials want to position their careers in such a way that their work life and play life are interchangeable. Gamification in the workplace is becoming more and more common as employers seek to keep their workers engaged in this digital world. You can plug into this evolution by making your team building initiatives fun and less like traditional work.
4. Broadcast Popular Events
Did you watch the World Cup? 3.4 billion people did, so if you didn’t, chances are that one of your co-workers did. If your employees have a passion for sporting events or other popular cultural moments, organize a showing at work. Don’t let them miss out on the things they love and have them share the experience together.
5. Karaoke Night
Standing around in a meeting room doing a presentation about yourself in front of your colleagues is a terrible way to do an ice breaking session or team building activity. But if you take the principle and add a party atmosphere, you have a team building experience that millennials will love and may reveal more about their personalities than you might think.
6. Egg Drop
Build teams by having your teams build. The challenge: the egg will drop from a height of one meter. When it does, will your team’s safety net be good enough to save it?
This is a classic team building exercise, but it’s a classic because it works. It encourages teamwork, creativity and strong voices, all things that millennials champion in the workplace.
7. Scavenger Hunts
Want to spark a little friendly competition in the office? Plan a scavenger hunt for your team to kill a slow afternoon. Divide your millennials into teams, and have them work together to solve riddles and clues. This active game will get people away from their desks and help millennials develop the communication skills needed to effectively work together as a team.
Millennials are very health conscious and actively seek out food and experiences that are good for themselves and good for nature. Be a company that cares about its employees’ bodies and minds by encouraging wellbeing initiatives that promote positive lifestyles.
8. Contemplation Spaces
In a busy and diverse world, it’s good to have a space where we can take a few moments to reflect, look Inside and breathe. Help employees reach their inner selves by creating a dedicated contemplation space. A space where no technology, be it a smartphone or a laptop exist. This will help your teams see the minor dramas for what they are and adjust their view of the big picture.
9. Meditation Mondays
If you want to make contemplation a group activity, organize meditation sessions at work. Help shed those Monday blues and set your teams up for a positive working week by helping them center themselves in a state of togetherness.
10. Health & Fitness Challenges
Millennials are a competitive bunch, so physical team building exercises are a great way to encourage fitness and help bring them together. Whether it’s a planking tower challenge, races around the office building, or a last-person-standing sit up competition, a physical activity will appeal to the employees that never skip leg day.
Pushing the Boundaries
Millennials are pushing the boundaries of what’s appropriate in the workplace. They’re challenging established norms, such as paternity leave, dress codes and corporate wellness programs. They respect the importance of work-life balance, understanding that happy, healthy employees will produce the best results and increase retention rates. They value onboarding and development, because they see in themselves the same desire for personal growth within business.
Ultimately, millennials aren’t concerned with how they will fit into a company. They want to know where the business will fit in their personal narrative. Millennials are focused on creating the life they want and ensuring their career doesn’t encroach on that goal. Businesses need to adapt to this changing labor landscape if they want to retain and attract tomorrow’s top talent.