Though younger workers tend to get a bad rap, the fact is they've come to comprise more than one-third of the workforce. It's therefore critical that companies understand what makes millennials tick.

It's no secret that workers of all ages want to earn as much money as possible. They also desire certain benefits -- things like health insurance, 401(k) dollars, and paid time off. And millennials, of course, are no exception. But if there's one thing younger workers are truly looking for, it's a positive work environment. And the No. 1 reason millennials quit their jobs is that they're not happy with their office atmospheres. Such says the latest research from Jive Communications, which also found that flexibility on the job is extremely important to young workers. Specifically, 25% of millennials claim that they've left their jobs because they weren't offered flexible hours.

Young workers in an office

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

What all of this means is that companies seeking to attract and retain young workers need to understand what's most important to them. Otherwise, they risk losing out on a key source of talent.

1. Foster a positive work environment

You don't need to offer an in-office game room and unlimited soft drinks to keep younger workers happy (though it wouldn't hurt, either). But what your company should do is to focus on maintaining an engaging, supportive atmosphere where workers are encouraged to share ideas, express themselves freely, and keep learning. This is especially crucial if younger workers happen to comprise a fairly large percentage of your staff.

How do you achieve this objective? Start by encouraging managers to communicate regularly and openly with their direct reports. Suggest weekly meetings so teams can collaborate and discuss challenges they're facing, both with their peers and with their managers. Finally, make time for town hall meetings, where upper management addresses the company on a whole, solicits employee feedback, and addresses workers' most pressing questions.

2. Offer workers some leeway

These days, most workers don't log off at 5 p.m. and call it a day. Rather, they continue checking in after hours, on weekends, and when they're supposed to be on vacation. It's therefore unfortunate that so many companies aren't willing to reciprocate in the form of letting workers leave early as needed or adjust their schedules to accommodate personal needs. If you're really looking to entice millennials in particular, be open to the idea of flexible arrangements, whether it's working from home, compressing a work week, or adjusting hours as necessary. Not only will you buy yourself a ton of goodwill, but you'll motivate your employees to want to do better.

3. Don't let benefits fall by the wayside

Though millennials in particular may be more focused on enjoying their jobs, doing meaningful work, and feeling respected and supported than anything else, don't make the mistake of skimping on benefits, either. Rather, take time to research what local companies are offering, and ask your staff members what benefits they feel they're lacking the most. If you come to find, for example, that your paid time off policy is stingy, work on improving it so that workers get the break they so desperately need. If your workers are desperate for a 401(k), see about sponsoring a plan. Though building a positive workplace and granting workers flexibility will help you retain solid talent, you should, at the same time, strive to offer the best benefits package you can swing.

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