Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the demographic following Generation X, generally referencing those born in the 1980s to the early 2000s. They are also the most intriguing, frustrating, educated, tech-savvy and complex generation of today’s workplace. So says the stereotypes out there. While it’s not common for newbie’s in the workforce to be judged, Millenials seem to be facing extra harsh judgment.
What HR professional or recruiter hasn’t heard the stereotypes? They aren’t loyal. They are off to the next job as soon as a better offer comes along. They are all about themselves, not the company. Things have changed. But have they? What job seeker isn’t off to the next best job if they are looking for career growth and success? How many professionals stay with a company for 30 years and get a gold watch while riding off into retirement? Times have changed. But does how you interview, hire and retain Millenials reflect that? If they haven’t, they should. Especially when today’s workforce mixes so many baby boomers with employees young enough to be their children or grandchildren in some cases.
The fact of the matter is, when 20-something Millennials work with people who are the age of their parents and grandparents, generational clashes can happen, says Vicky Oliver, a Manhattan-based job interview and image consultant and the author of five bestselling books on personal branding, etiquette, and career development, including Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers, and Other Office Idiots.
“The newest generation of workers are more facile with technology than their older peers,” says Oliver. “Older workers, on the other hand, often possess the in-depth industry knowledge and years of company experience that younger employee’s lack.”
Is there a benefit to learning how the other half works? Yes. Doing so fosters peaceful coexistence and camaraderie, says Oliver.
As a recruiter or HR professional, the task is finding the right mix of new employees or rising young stars who can mesh, make an impact and be the future your company needs. Read more to see how it can be done in your guide to hiring Millenials:
Recruiters seeking the most qualified candidates need to re-strategize their hiring efforts to reach the Millennials, who tend to use social media and mobile technology almost exclusively to communicate, said Susan Vitale in a Star Tribune article titled How can I reach out to and recruit the Millennials?
“As a result, human resources processes have changed to address the social and mobile trends taking hold within the candidate landscape,” said Vitale, CMO of iCIMS (icims.com), a leading provider of talent acquisition software solutions for growing businesses. “More and more HR professionals are turning to social media outlets and search engine optimization for additional exposure for their open positions.”
What is the key to managing Millenials? Paul McDonald offered these thoughts on a Robert Half Management Resources blog that was also part of a commentary on FEI Daily.
“Start by learning what makes them tick,” says McDonald. “For most Millennials, their core desires are like those of every other generational group – a job that they enjoy and is a source of pride, a manager they respect and can learn from, fair compensation and the ability to balance their professional and personal lives.”
At the same time, there are unique attributes common among members of this generation. For one, they frequently crave feedback. You can tap into this need and foster passion and commitment from these employees by helping them answer this, says McDonald:
- Where am I going in my career?
- What’s important to my company?
- How does my role help the company reach its objectives?
- How can my company and my manager help me reach my goals?
Ongoing communication is key. Be positive, but also genuine, providing constructive criticism as needed. Don’t wait for formal performance review periods, however. Provide your feedback in real time, says McDonald.
Keep in mind that communication flow should be two-way. Millennials want to level the hierarchy and have a voice. Work together to target initiatives these employees feel are a fit for their skills and goals, and, when possible, assign them to leadership positions on project teams. Similarly, collaborate on identifying educational opportunities that can help them build their expertise and learn from different perspectives.
Technology driven: Not current – you’re behind
This is what really drives Millenials: Technology. They are always on their Smartphone, tablet, Twitter, the list goes on – and seems to grow. Technology isn’t just for IT professionals; it’s a way of life for Millenials. So employers, it’s critical to make sure your technology and financial systems are up to date.
“The ability to work with the latest tech tools can help influence Gen Y accounting and finance professionals when deciding whether to join and stay with your organization,” says McDonald. “If you don’t continuously upgrade your systems, you risk experiencing a talent outflow instead of an inflow. Remember, this generation grew up with computer technology and is deeply ingrained with social media. Millennials understand the power of technology and recognize if you’re not current, you’re behind.”
Attract Millenials: Focus on community
What is the key to attracting Millenials to learn more about your company? Sure, it’s salary, and the latest and greatest in technology – even for non-IT professionals, but what Millenials really want goes beyond what’s offered at work, according to one report. Look at your organizations community service and charitable giving programs, according to information reported by the Society of Human Resource Management in an article titled Millennials Desire to Do Good Defines Workplace Culture.
According to the Millennial Impact Report more than half of 1,514 Millennials employed in the U.S. said a company’s charitable work influenced them to accept a job offer. That study was released in June 2014 by Achieve Consulting Inc., a provider of HR solutions and project management consulting. The data is from a survey of Millennials from 300 companies that was conducted from Feb. 15, 2014, to May 15, 2014, and from a generic survey among employees of its research partners across the U.S.
While a company’s volunteerism program ranks third in importance to Millennials—behind an organization’s primary purpose and its workplace culture—it does carry weight, the report found.
“We know that a lot of the cause initiatives influence [Millennials] during the hiring process,” said Derrick Feldmann, president of Achieve and the study’s lead researcher. “Companies need to be much more forthcoming” about those initiatives, he pointed out, by using social networks as well as the company website.
The report also offered these findings on what drives Millenials in the workplace:
- 94 percent like using their skills to benefit a cause.
- 77 percent prefer working with groups of fellow employees rather than performing independent service projects; 62 percent prefer to volunteer with people in their department.
- 57 percent want more companywide service days.
- 47 percent had volunteered on their own for a cause or nonprofit in the past month; 47 percent had performed a volunteer project with their team or department and 44 percent had participated in a companywide service day.
How to retain Millenials
According to Right Management, the talent and career management solutions group within ManpowerGroup, to retain Millennials, let them work on projects that really matter and provide ongoing feedback on the work they deliver. Social connectivity is big for them, so allow them to be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn during the workday. They want to work for organizations that find solutions to the biggest problems facing our world today so involve them in the conversations. Create flexible work arrangements so that they can spend sufficient time with their spouses and partners, offer paternity and maternity leave, and create a work environment that inspires loyalty. Coach managers to take an interest in the career aspirations of Millennials and provide professional development for them. Make the business case for diversity and create an inclusive work environment.
Keep in mind: you don’t want to hire just any Millennial; you want to hire the right ones, according to Accountemps in a blog titled 3 Recruiting Strategies for Attracting Millennials Now
“Millennials want to know that they can grow with your company. During interviews and in recruiting materials, highlight career development programs you have in place. Also, remember that Millennials place a premium on work-life balance and collaborating with colleagues. As such, consider telecommuting, flexible work schedules and a team-oriented work environment as appealing job perks that are keys to recruitment.”
Additional facts about Millennials in the workplace
A study on Millennials by the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School they found that:
- 80 percent of Millennials prefer feedback in real time rather than by traditional performance reviews.
- 70 percent of Millennials are planning to change jobs once the economy improves.
- 65 percent of Millennials reported personal development was the most influential factor in their current job.
- 64 percent of Millennials ask about social media policies during employment interviews, and 24 percent respond that it would be a key factor in accepting the job offer.
- 43 percent felt extremely or very confident that should they lose or leave their job, they could find another.
Did you know:
Millennials are the most diverse generation: 59.8 percent White, 14.2 percent Black, 18.5 percent Hispanic, and 4.3 percent Asian. Source: UNC Kenan Flagler Business School study.