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How to Win the Hearts of Millennials?

I love design, so Nixon Peabody’s office redesign — it’s a K Street law firm in DC — caught my eye. Nixon Peabody has redesigned its interior and gotten rid of the famous corner office to make the work environment more appealing to millennials. It made me wonder, will such a redesign win the heart of millennials? Or are there better ways?

What do millennials want?

According to a PWC study, millennials want what we all do: They want security and variety in their career; they want to be stretched and challenged; they want to work for a company of which they can be proud; and they have every intention of being loyal. Yet, there are many ways in which this growing proportion of the workforce is different. They have strong beliefs and expectations that extend to the workplace…

Driven to do good and have a positive impact

Millennials want to do good and have a positive impact on the world. They are impatient, in that they don’t want to wait for gray hair before getting their hands dirty in attempting to change the world for the better. In addition, they know that they will need a team to achieve their goals, as no one has all the skills, knowledge and technologies needed.

Previous generations learned from their bosses and direct environment what is and is not possible. No longer. The world is at your feet, everything seems to be possible and achievable. Why work the old-fashioned way when you know there are better and smarter ways to get things done?

A Washington Post article on the redesign quotes a 28-year-old: “They have years of experience and knowledge, but I want to be able to learn from them. Having access to them is what’s important to me.”

A new, better designed office can help achieve these goals. It can signal transparency, democracy and connection. At Nixon Peabody, the corner office has been transformed to a meeting place for teams. In addition there are informal spaces to be inspired by others, through knowledge and collaboration.

Will a better designed office space do the trick?

I love designAs stated above, I am all for design. I admire the design process, and love elegantly designed and comfortable furniture and highly functional electronics and gadgets.

However, will an office makeover be sufficient to satisfy the hunger to perform of millennials, and enable them to execute effectively and efficiently on these ambitions?

I am not so sure. From my years of experience in professional services, I know that it takes a mindset, process and framework to make dreams come true, whether these dreams belong to the baby boom generation or millennials. An innovation management structure is needed if your organization does not want to rely on one-off lucky guesses.

Another benefit of innovation management infrastructure, if well designed, is that it enables your next generation of employees to grow your future business. Not surprisingly, being given such opportunities contributes to employee satisfaction and retention.

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