Many companies have a “can’t live with ‘em, can’t kill ‘em” mindset when it comes to millennials. But though some millennials may inspire headshakes and eye rolls, savvy companies like Atlanta’s MELT Sports & Entertainment see past the stereotypes and realize this generation is not only capable and creative but poised to create a bright future for business. MELT has created a unique internship program called MELT U. Now in it’s 12th year, the program boasted 37 students this year from universities all over the country.

Dana Barrett and Vince Thompson

Last month, The Dana Barrett Show did a live broadcast from MELT headquarters where we focused on attracting and retaining millennials both as employees and as customers. MELT CEO, Vince Thompson joined me on-air and had three great recommendations:

  1. Examine future needs. What do you want and need as a business? How can the younger workforce play into that?  Millennials see the world differently than you do, so make sure they understand that you value their perspective and will value their input as you move your company forward.
  2. Become a teaching organization. Loyalty has a new definition.  It no longer means you should expect (or want an employee to come to your company at age 22 and stay until retirement (or even 5 years!). Become a teaching organization.  Hire for talent, culture fit, and drive and then make each opportunity a learning opportunity. Help your young staff to grow IN your company and then grow BEYOND it. Celebrate that success together and stay in touch.  That’s the new loyalty.
  3. Create a Culture with Meaning AND Fun! Millennials have grown up in an era where they are constantly being stimulated. Make your office an engaging place to be, but don’t forget that millennials also want to be a part of something that matters.  Make sure they understand your core values and have an opportunity to contribute along with the nap pods and the beer room!

Vince went on to say, “I’m still a believer in hard work. It’s okay to appeal to millennials’ desire for cool office space, free breakfast and those types of things, but it’s also okay to expect them to put in a lot of hours and work hard. That’s what the world expects of all of us. That hasn’t changed.”

As for the the MELT millennials, they also joined me on the show and probably summed it up best by suggesting that all we really need to do is “be open, don’t generalize” and just “believe in them.”

Watch the full interview from MELT or click above to listen.