Attracting Millennials to your Franchise

Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial. Mary Simmons, PHR, SHRM- CP, a Human Resources expert for almost three decades and Director of HR Consultant for Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc., a Labor Relations and Human Resources consulting firm, shares how to embrace and attract millennials to your business. Currently, in numbers, millennials are the largest part of the U.S. economy.

Mary is currently a Director of HR Consultant for Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc., a Labor Relations and Human Resources consulting firm on Long Island, NY.

As a Director of HR Consulting at PMP, Mary partners with companies to ensure they are compliant with workplace laws and regulations, while assisting them in managing their employees to achieve maximum productivity. Specifically, some of the projects she assists companies with include: writing employee handbooks, career transition training, recruitment and developing and facilitating customized training sessions such as Performance Evaluations, Anti- Harassment and Supervisory Skills.

As an adjunct professor, at New York Institute of Technology Mary teaches the “ SHRM- HR Essentials” class to HR Professionals and business owners.

Reach Mary at: (516) 921-3400 office



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Tom Scarda: This is so cool. So, a big question is, how do you work with millennials, who are these people, do they come from Mars? I have two children that are 24 and 28, they're millennials. The other day they were both at the house and my son wanted to show my daughter a video on YouTube. I'm in the other room and I hear them laughing and my daughter says, "Wait a second, this video is one minute? I don't have that kind of time."
Tom Scarda: True story, absolutely true story.
Mary Simmons: That's crazy.
Tom Scarda: So, what's up with millennials? How do we attract them to our franchises how do we attract them to be employees?
Mary Simmons: You know what, they do get a bad rap, I like you, have children that are millennials and I'm trying every day to understand them. I recruit millennials because they're the largest group in the workforce right now. So, I'm coming to understand them. A couple of the things that they're looking for is, they want to volunteer, they care about our world, which is a great thing.
Tom Scarda: That's awesome.
Mary Simmons: The other great thing is they really want work/life balance. I think generations before that have talked about it, I talk about it, but I don't do much about it, but they mean it. They're leaving at 5:00 and they're not coming in a 7:00 am.
Tom Scarda: Right, right, it's so interesting. Just as an aside, my daughter works for
Mary Simmons: Wow.
Tom Scarda: So she works for the corporate office in Manhattan, I visited the office, twice actually now, because they have a family day every year. It's like a big picnic.
Mary Simmons: Which millennials love.
Tom Scarda: Yeah, oh it's awesome, but her desk is a bicycle that holds an iPad, stationary bike. I'm just like, this is weird. Everybody is sitting on these balloons as chairs, and then they have a nap room and the conference room looks like a living room with a rug and-
Mary Simmons: Are they hiring?
Tom Scarda: They are hiring, matter of fact.
Mary Simmons: Even I want to work there.
Tom Scarda: Yeah, that's how I felt, I want to go back to work just to work here. Free food all day long, they have a barista, they have their own Starbucks barista on site, in the office. They have ... it's just an amazing thing that they have. They have unlimited days off, so you could take whatever days off. They have the traditional 401K's, all that kind of stuff, but if you're feeling stressed out, you just need to unwind, you go out on the deck with your laptop, they have a meditation room, you can play ping pong, go in the basement, they have basketball. It's like ... I love it. But this is what they're looking for, right?
Mary Simmons: Right, that's what they're looking for, and I think for most of the people on the call are thinking, "I can't do that", you know, "I can't ... ", Indeed is a big company and they're probably the poster child for attracting millennials, but I think what we all have to think about, especially small businesses, is what can I do, what piece of that, even if it's only one thing, can I do to attract millennials?
Tom Scarda: I just want to say one thing about Indeed. Right now they are literally hiring, so if you have somebody who's under 30 years old, 'cause it seems like nobody there was over 30 when I was there, so if anybody under 30 and they need a job, email me and I'll put you in touch with my daughter, 'cause they're seriously hiring. They have offices all over the country.
Mary Simmons: So I can't work there, is that what you're trying to say?
Tom Scarda: I don't know, I'm serious, I don't know if they would hire ... you'd be, quote/unquote, have too much experience.
Mary Simmons: Yeah.
Tom Scarda: It's you being aged out.
Mary Simmons: I'm over experienced.
Tom Scarda: Over experienced.
Mary Simmons: I love that, I love that.
Tom Scarda: But, I'm sorry for interrupting you, but somebody could email me at, and I could put you in touch with my daughter, actually help your kid get a job, or something.
Mary Simmons: Yeah, whatever works, right? Get them off the couch.
Tom Scarda: Right.
Mary Simmons: I think the rest of us on the call need to think about, what can we do to attract millennials? A lot of it is just the mindset, you can go much further with the way that you're coaching and mentoring your employees than you can by throwing money at them, to be honest with you. You gotta meet the minimum, right?
Tom Scarda: Of course.
Mary Simmons: They're not gonna work for $10 an hour, and in New York, they're not gonna work for less than 15. There's a lot that you can do, there's free benefits that you can do, you can do one volunteer day a year. You can choose a non profit that the company wants to promote. We, here at my organization we always have a box, whether it's collecting coats, whether it's collecting toys for tots, whether it's collecting books for Book Fairies, there's so many good charities out there that your organization can back up and the millennials are looking for that, which is really a great thing.
Tom Scarda: That's awesome.
Mary Simmons: The other thing is, days off. That's not mandatory federally, right? New York City has a mandate for sick days, now we have New York paid family leave, which is mandatory as well, doesn't cost the employer a dime, but that's a nice benefit. For other states, you can also think about, what's the time off that you wanna give. You cannot ... there's no longer a way to attract people and say, well, we don't give any time off, at all.
Tom Scarda: Right.
Mary Simmons: You just can't do it.
Tom Scarda: Or you get two weeks, and when you hit twenty years you get three weeks.
Mary Simmons: Right, they're not gonna last twenty years, that's the thing. The other thing is, a lot of the people that are listening probably don't have a lot of employees, so you have a relatively flat organization. The millennials are looking to move up, but they're also looking to be trained and mentored. Well, that's free because the franchise owner has a lot of knowledge, has a lot of experience that they can share, that's what the millennials are looking for. Even if they can't move up, even if you don't have three layers of supervisor, and then manager, and then director within your organization, if you're at least training so that they have those skills. There's free classes they can take on YouTube, give 'em 20 minutes a day to take a free training. Whatever it is that you can do to help them grow professionally, the millennials are looking for that and are going to respond, and that only makes your organization better.
Tom Scarda: Wow, that's amazing and that's a great idea. So, using human resources to attract employees.
Mary Simmons: Absolutely, absolutely.
Tom Scarda: So, you said that you could give time off and it doesn't coast a dime, is that what you said.
Mary Simmons: Well, let's face it, it does cost money for you to have somebody take a day off because you have to fill it with another employee, but it's not like medical benefits, where you're paying for fixed cost for their medical insurance. New York paid family leave, for the New York employers, that is 100% employee paid. So yes, they get the time off, and again, you have to fill their spot, but the benefit to them is 100% employee paid.
Tom Scarda: So, does New York City subsidizing the company, or something?
Mary Simmons: New York State, it's New York State, and no, it's an employee deduction, just like State Disability, this year the maximum that an employee could pay for this coverage is $107.67. So, it's inexpensive for the employee, they get in 2019, 10 weeks off and 60% of their pay, up to the maximum of the state average salary, which now os $70,000.
Tom Scarda: And this is Family Leave Act?
Mary Simmons: This is Family Leave Act, right.
Tom Scarda: In New York State only?
Mary Simmons: New York State only, New York City has the New York City sick time leave, which is up to 5 days a year of paid sick, or safe time. Westchester just adopted a similar law, which is starting this year.
Tom Scarda: What does safe time mean?
Mary Simmons: Safe time means that if you're a victim of domestic violence, you can take time off for ... to go see a lawyer, or to go to court, or to move your family to a safe residence.
Tom Scarda: Oh, okay, I didn't know about that.
Mary Simmons: Yeah, that's relatively new. That's added to the sick time.
Tom Scarda: And this is all new legislation, I guess, right?
Mary Simmons: That's right.
Tom Scarda: Within New York State.
Mary Simmons: That's right.
Tom Scarda: I know that most listeners are probably not in New York State, but this is something that is probably gonna be rolled out, even on a Federal level, in years to come.
Mary Simmons: Definitely.
Tom Scarda: It's interesting to know about it as an employer.
Mary Simmons: Yeah, absolutely.
Tom Scarda: Is there anything else that employers can do to attract millennials, or any stories that you have heard of that have worked?
Mary Simmons: I think finding a good employment brand for your organization, instead of your ad saying, "We have a great job, come join us", it's just too ordinary. Right? You really have to attract people, you have to figure out why somebody wants to work for you. Is it that you're a really fun organization? Is it that your business is providing extraordinarily amazing food, and they get a free meal every day? Whatever it is, you have to figure out why somebody would want to work for you, because the millennials want to know why. They're not gonna do something just 'cause. They want to do it, why?
Tom Scarda: That's interesting. It's almost like what I would call a fringe benefit, but you could use that the actually ... use those free fringe benefits to attract millennials.
Mary Simmons: That's right, one of my small employers, he's not big, he can't afford the best medical insurance and he can't match 401K, but what he does is he gives a good amount of time off. So, starts with two weeks, everybody gets their birthday off, everybody gets a day to volunteer. So, anywhere they want to volunteer, they get a day to volunteer.
Tom Scarda: Wow.
Mary Simmons: The millennials love that, you can then use that ... he takes pictures of his employees volunteering, puts it on his website, that attracts people, that's good. Anytime you're recruiting, you're marketing your organization.
Tom Scarda: Wow.
Mary Simmons: You're putting feelers out there and showing what a great organization you are as a whole. And a great employer, right?
Tom Scarda: So, he's using marketing to attract future employees.
Mary Simmons: That's right, that's right. Recruitment is marketing.
Tom Scarda: That is-
Mary Simmons: It is marketing.
Tom Scarda: Recruitment is marketing, that's a quotable moment. What would Oprah say, that's a tweetable moment. Well Mary, I really thank you, anything else that you would like to add before we wrap it up?
Mary Simmons: Just that millennials are actually great, because I have three millennials. I think instead of ... I think a lot of us ... of my generation, and your generation, there is a push/pull. Like, "Oh, those millennials."
Tom Scarda: Right, right,
Mary Simmons: But they have a lot of really good ideas.
Tom Scarda: They do.
Mary Simmons: So I think instead of fighting them, I think we need to join them on some fronts and that'll even help attract them-
Tom Scarda: Absolutely.
Mary Simmons: ... to our organization.
Tom Scarda: That's so great. How could people get in touch with you to pick your brain more about this stuff?
Mary Simmons: Thank you, my email is msimmons M-S-I-M-M-O-N-S my phone number os 516-921-3400 and our website is
Tom Scarda:
Mary Simmons: That's right.
Tom Scarda: Awesome, thank you so much Mary.
Mary Simmons: Thank you Tom.
Tom Scarda: We will have you on again.
Mary Simmons: Thank you.
Automated Voice: This has been another episode of the Franchise Academy Podcast. For more info, go to our website, Remember to subscribe to Tom Scarda's YouTube channel for educational videos on franchising. Education, insight, and inspiration.

About the author, Thomas Scarda

Tom Scarda hosts The Franchise Academy Podcast show on iTunes and is the author of three books: the number 1 bestseller Franchise Savvy: 6 Strategies Pros Use to Pick a Top Performing Franchise, The Road to Franchise Freedom and The Magic of Choosing Uncertainty. A self-made small business expert and Certified Franchise Expert, Tom has owned and operated both franchised and non-franchised businesses.

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