Millennials get a bad rap. They’re typically characterized as an entitled 20-something playing video games in his parents’ basement or the 30-year-old woman who has been trying to figure out what to do with her life for five years and is hopping from job-to-job in the meantime.
However, when you consider that a significant percentage of millennials were full-time college students when these stereotypes took off, living at home and not being in the workforce make sense for this season of life. (Read “6 Millennial Myths That Finally Need to Die” to further understand how they’re misunderstood.)
Regardless of your impression of millennials, this population of 22- to 37-year-olds (born between 1981 and 1996), is a critical component for your workforce and the future of your organization. And they must be doing something right, because they currently comprise the largest cohort of American workers. In fact, in just five years this generation will make up half the U.S. workforce.
You need to be intentional in how you recruit, hire, and keep millennials engaged. Engagement impacts sales, productivity, profitability, employee safety, turnover, and absenteeism.
Given they are the most studied generation in history, there’s a lot of useful data on what matters to millenials that we can take our cues from.
Here are four things you should know about recruiting, hiring, and retaining millennials:
1. They’re Confident and Knowledgeable
Millennials—and job seekers in general—are coming to interviews with an impression of your company. 91% of candidates seek out at least one online or offline resource to get intel on your brand before applying for a job. This means they can be more selective about where they apply, especially if your previous employees have left unfavorable reviews about your company’s culture. This also means:
- Potential hires may have questions about what they’ve read online so be prepared to respond.
- You need to be strategic about your presence on social media and you need to consider what your website says to potential hires.
- Applicants are looking at past employee reviews from online sources such as Glassdoor and Great Place to Work. Millennials will use these sources to influence their decision to work for your organization. (Not to mention there may be some feedback you need to consider that can improve your culture.)
The most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed there were 7.1 million job openings in the United States. Because it’s a job seeker’s market, the candidate’s experience during their interview and recruiting process matters more than ever.
2. Money AND meaning
In order to entice and successfully recruit millennials you need to understand that they value “a paycheck with a purpose.” If they don’t feel like your organization has a positive impact on society or don’t understand where they fit into your mission they’re likely to look around.
Consider these stats about millennials:
- 68% of them want their work to make a positive difference in the world
- 81% said a successful business needs to have a genuine purpose
- 78% said the values of their employer should match their own
If you’re hiring a nurse or a for a position at a company dedicated to developing alternative fuel sources, opportunities to contribute to the greater good are very obvious. This, however, is less tangible in say a restaurant, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to dial into the heartbeat of mission-minded millennials. An enthusiastic new recruit is the perfect person to plan your office’s service day, or identify a community partner your restaurant can donate a portion of your sales to. Connect the dots for how your team members contribute to the bigger picture of what your organization does.
3. Balance NOT Burnout
“Last one in the office wins” is definitely not the mantra of this generation. In fact, “good work-life balance” is a millennials top priority when it comes to evaluating career opportunities. This is closely followed by the prospect of growth. Thirdly, flexibility (both hours and the option to work remotely) according to a 2016 millennial survey by Deloitte is imperative to the millennial generation.
Millennials are the first generation connected to work around the clock so they are looking for some ways to draw a line between personal and professional time as those lines are increasingly blurred.
As they start to marry, buy homes, and have children they want a healthy mix of life experiences. Consider ways you might be able to offer some flexibility. For example, maybe you offer one day a week that employees may work remotely. You may want to offer this after a probationary period. For example, if any employee has performed well consistently for 90 days you allow them to work from home on Fridays to beat the weekend traffic. Set up some guidelines (like times you expect them to be reachable on by phone or email) so you’re keeping your productivity up.
4. Development NOT Dead-End Jobs
Employee turnover is costly. The secret to cultivating staying power with millennials is giving them opportunities to advance.
A recent study found that nearly 90-percent of millennials are hoping to grow their careers within their current companies.
In fact, the same study by Bridge revealed that offering career training and development would prevent a whopping 86% of millennials from leaving their current positions! Take the time to discover what your younger hires hope to accomplish within your organization and in their career more generally. Identify mentors, training courses, and advancement opportunities that cultivate those goals and dreams. If you can’t help your employees pursue growth within your organization your competitors might.
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