CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

Company Designs New Office with Millennial Workers in Mind

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa –The millennial generation often gets a bad rap when it comes to work, but some employers see what the younger generation brings to the table, and they’re playing to their strengths.

If you look around the office at Blue Compass in West Des Moines, you'll notice a trend.  Sara Johnson said, "I am 24."

Just about everyone at the digital marketing firm is a millennial, including the Co-Founder and President Drew Harden. He said, "There's different definitions, but a millennial is generally someone who is born between 1980/1981 and 2000."

Some of the things you've heard about this generation are true. Dan Kurns said, "We want a position that's really fulfilling."

Johnson added, "I would rather take more time than higher pay, personally"

But others may surprise older cohorts. "I think they view our work ethic different than what they went through, but on the flip side, I hear a lot of positive things. We have a great work ethic, we're dedicated, we want to learn," said Johnson.

That's why when the nine year-old company moved to its fourth location in April, management wanted to cater to their young workforce.  "We've found millennials really want to matter in the workplace. They really want to have a voice," said Harden.

The office has an open floor plan, with a lounge, cafe, and no doors on managers' offices. People can also work on a walking treadmill. “It kind of wakes you up a little bit. I like to do it after lunch," said Johnson.

It is the kind of office environment many millennials find attractive. "I wanted learning opportunities that was a big aspect obviously of searching for jobs, but also culture, culture is big, in addition to obviously your position," said Johnson.

With a growing number of millennials in the workforce, Harden said it would benefit companies to embrace this type of work culture. "Right now about 25 percent of the workforce is millennials here in the united states, and I read that's supposed to be about 50% by the year 2020, so I think it really behooves employers to figure out what makes millennials tick and how to really attract and attain young talent."

Kurns said, "We're all motivated and driven to succeed, so it's been really cool being around these people."

In addition to catering to millennial workers, marketing companies are also studying the generation to see what changes businesses should make to get millennials to buy their products.