Depending on who you listen to, millennials are either lazy, entitled and impatient or hard-working, dedicated and forward-thinking – but one thing is for sure: we can’t afford to ignore them. According to Deloitte, the global workforce will be 75% made up of millennials within the decade, so change is inevitable.
It seems like every other day another article is written or study released centring on millennial talent though, so it can be difficult to know exactly what that change should entail.
Never fear. We’ve pulled together ten of the best pieces out there on hiring millennials and summarised them for you – so you can draw your own conclusions without combing the web for hours. From the benefits of hiring millennials to attracting, recruiting, managing and retaining them – we’ve got you covered. If you’re searching for the best recruiting software for your firm, check out Recruiteze today! It’s free!
Why Hire Millennials?
Let’s start with this popular piece by Sally Susman, Executive VP of Pfizer, looking at the three main advantages of hiring millennials.
- Digital communication
Many millennials, writes Susman, have broad digital and social media experience that can help brands build stronger relationships online. The diversity in voice that millennials bring to the table can be critical in finding innovative ways to communicate online.
- Corporate responsibility
As the boundaries dissolve between the public, private and social sectors, there is an opportunity for businesses to create cross-divisional programs with tangible real-world social impact. Millennials bring a fluidity in thinking that can help move corporate responsibility programs beyond static charity-only based models and into a form of entrepreneurism.
- Corporate affairs
As a relatively new area, and the critical intersection between internal and external stakeholders and the public, corporate affairs is an area Susman feels can benefit most from millennial input.
Susman’s point is this: millennials should proactively seek out opportunities to add value beyond their day job, and businesses should be prepared to let them into the fray – because the insight they bring can be invaluable.
Author Andrew Carver spends a lot of time working with in Board and Executive Advisory roles with innovative technology and media companies, so his insights are based on extensive first-hand experience of the millennial workforce.
For Carver, millennials make great hires for 4 main reasons:
- Enthusiasm & Excitement
- Confidence to take the initiative
- Digital Intuition
- Innovation vs. experience
He notes the “fresh enthusiasm” he sees in the millennial workforce. The ‘glass half-full’ approach is not only refreshing, but essential to growing a sustainable business.
Part of the millennial charm is their confidence to innovate, born of a complete lack of risk-awareness. This freedom allows real creativity without fear for the consequences, enabling real innovation.
Mirroring Susman, Carver comments on the digital awareness millennials bring to the table. He notes how digital connectivity is “intuitive”, and they’re automatically part of an “always-on ecosystem” that gives them the leg-up on less digital savvy counterparts.
Lastly, Carver comments on the need to balance experience with innovation, knowledge with optimism and ambition. Maybe a team that was just millennial talent would struggle, but a team made up off cross-generational talent in which millennial insight is given free rein: that team could really go places.
How to Attract Millennials
Dale Carnegie is a training community serving business professionals in 90 countries worldwide. They offer a broad range of courses about engaging, inspiring and motivating employees, so they know a thing or two about workplace dynamics.
This article addresses the need for organisations to create a work environment that will be attractive to the millennial workforce, in order to entice the best candidates in a competitive talent market.
There are four main ways, “beyond office space and beer in the fridge”, that forward-thinking organisations can do this.
The first of these is through building an effective work-life balance – which means something rather different to millennials than to previous generations.
Rather than wanting a balance between work and outside work, “millennials want flexibility to work and live all at the same time”. In other words, organisations should create a flexible working environment in which employees are as free as possible to choose their own hours. It’s not about working less – as one might assume – but about allowing them to work when they want to.
Which leads us nicely to the second point: creating incentives based on clear goals. The stereotype doesn’t do millennials justice. Far from being lazy and work-averse, most millennials are more than willing to put in the hard graft – as long as they’re given flexibility (as above) and, crucially, they know why the task is meaningful. So. To attract millennials, companies “must have communication tools that show employees how their jobs relate to the overall goals of the company”.
The implementation of these goals brings us to the third point: limited oversight. The worst thing you can do for millennials is to create an environment in which they’ll be micro-managed. Millennial talent wants to be shown the goals, and then left largely alone to achieve them.
The final point is about creating a positive working environment. Millennials differ from the generations before them in that “no amount of money, job protection or sweet pension plan will keep millennials in a job they despise”. Creating a positive work environment is something that millennial talent will sense from their first contact with you – and is one of the simplest (although that’s not to say easiest) ways to attract millennials.
This article is by Roberta Matuson, a regular Forbes contributor on the topic of talent maximisation. For Matuson, the 4th Annual Deloitte Millennial Survey confirmed what she’s known all along: “employers are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to hiring”. Business leaders must “reset” how they attract talent “if they want to acquire the talent needed to fuel business growth”.
Matuson outlines the concept of “purposeful hiring” as the solution, made up of three main principles:
- Focus on People and Purpose
- Career Development is More Than a Training Program
- Revisit the Types of Leaders You Promote and Hire
Let’s look at her points in turn.
The first of these ties into the Carnegie article’s point, above: millennial talent wants to do something meaningful.
Matuson suggests businesses focus on “identifying how the world is better as a result of their company being in business”, and then finding was to communicate this message more effectively both internally and externally. She recommends working with hiring managers “to ensure the conversations they’re having with prospective employees accurately reflects the partnership we are attempting to achieve”.
The second point is one well worth noting – millennials see career development as much more than a one-size-fits-all training program.
Matuson believes that “career development is a two-way street”. It’s something employees should be actively involved with, shaping their own development. One example she gives is facilitating a round-table for leaders at similar stages in their career, so they can learn and grow with each other. This is only one possible example of many – the key is to provide bespoke and multi-faceted growth opportunities.
Finally, Matuson writes of the need to evaluate the types of leaders in your business. “People work for their bosses”, she points out, and successfully attracting millennials means knowing the kind of leaders they want to work with and promoting/hiring this talent too.
How to Recruit Millennials
We’ve all read pieces on top interview questions (we’ve written about it before ourselves) but this article looks at questions specifically tailored to get the best out of millennial candidates:
For the author, Evan Burns, the biggest mistake companies make when hiring millennials is leading with competency-based questions instead of focussing on finding the right cultural fit.
Burns gives 8 questions designed to ascertain “mutual cultural fit”, in order to secure millennial hires that will be more likely to be beneficial long term.
- What are your dreams and aspirations?
- Why are you doing this?
- How have you been the creator of your world and not a victim of circumstances?
- What would your previous boss say your best quality is?
- How does this job get you to the next step of where you want to go?
- Why should someone take this specific job in this specific company?
- When did you overcome an impossible obstacle or achieve an impossible goal?
- How are you going to add to our culture and make people around you better?
Each of these questions is designed to get a sense of whether a new hire is going to be mutually beneficial. Later interviews can be dedicated to competency, but effectively hiring millennials demands a refined hiring process centering on cultural fit.
Based on feedback from recruiters and hiring managers, this article gives a series of outside-the-box recruitment tips to help hire millennial talent. Recruiting software can also help. Try Recruitieze today, it’s free!
1) Engage on social media
Maintain an active presence on the major social networks to give millennials the opportunity to get to know your company, values, products and services. “Off-the-cuff” conversations via social media are a key millennial recruitment channel.
2) Use a real name and real face on social
Millennials want to know explicitly who they’re interacting with – authenticity and real engagement are key.
3) Have a why
A point that’s come up several times in these articles is the need to create purpose: “Ultimately, a Millennial wants to know why they should take this job. How will it help them with their overall goals?”
4) Keep your website and social identity up to date
Keep your presence up to date in the same way you’d expect a candidate to have kept their resume up to date. Not doing so implies you simply don’t care, and that’s a big turn off to millennial talent.
5) Keep selling your company…
… through “rapid fire communications”. Millennials expect to acquire information quickly, and if your company falls down on that then expect to struggle recruiting millennials.
6) Be respectful
In other words, create a positive candidate experience – especially for those who don’t make the cut. Word spreads quickly and millennials are listening.
7) Recruiters: expect and prepare for long-term relationships
Millennials change jobs more frequently than other generations, which presents an opportunity and a challenge for recruiters:
“Recruiters must use more inbound marketing techniques to build long-term relationships and relationship opportunities instead of more traditional outbound marketing techniques”
8) Build relationships earlier
Recruiters and hiring managers should build relationships with millennials before they enter the hiring market. “Creating [an] up-front relationship will secure a future hire”.
9) Live the brand and culture
Another common theme among these articles is the importance of culture. Living up to your brand and culture is important in breeding loyalty amongst millennial talent.
10) Show don’t tell
Show millennials what it’s like to work with you. This article makes two suggestions:
- Invite potential hires into your office for a trial
- Shoot a ‘day in the life of’ style video
11) Accept failure
“Millennials are attracted to entrepreneurial environments that have a culture that accepts failure as part of the learning and innovation process”.
12) Offer flexibility
Another recurrent theme. Millennials want to “blend their work and personal lives together in a way that makes sense for them.” Some suggested options are telecommuting, non-traditional hours and a results-only-work-environment (ROWE).
13) Offer training in cool offices
If you have an office in Rome, this article says, you’ll do well to offer new hires the ability to spend their first month or three working from it. Make coming on board attractive by sending new employees to your best locations, if possible.
14) Build a community
Companies who proactively create a hiring community are better placed to recruit millennials. Millennials who are interested in a potential role should be able to casually engage with hiring managers and current employees in order to “have open and frank discussions” and “build credible relationships”.
In all, this piece concludes, millennials aren’t so different from the generations before they but they do have different priorities. Companies must leverage that in order to up their chances of making the right millennial hires.
How to Manage Millennials
Bringing different priorities and different attitudes into the workplace, effectively managing millennials is a subject of major concern. This piece gives three management techniques developed and used by Facebook, to help get the most out of their primarily millennial-age workforce.
1) Conversational management style
Facebook hasworked hard to create a two-way management style, where employees at all levels are encouraged to question, offer solutions and provide feedback on management decisions.
2) Shifting roles
It’s often noted that millennials will ‘job-hop’ regularly, in order to broaden their experience and avoid boredom. Facebook capitalizes on this by encouraging employees to shift roles within the company “based on their strengths and career objectives”. What better way to keep talent in-house while catering to the millennial need for variety?
3) Grading on a curve
Facebook employees are measured against everyone else’s performance, rather than measured against a static list of criteria. This prevents complacency and encourages employees to constantly grow, ensuring a consistently high standard of work.
These methods can create a “fast-paced, mercurial environment [which] can lead to burn-out”, but it’s a useful template from a highly successful millennial built and (largely) run company.
This piece centers on the need to really understand millennial talent – their motivations, drivers and challenges – in order to manage them more effectively in the workplace.
They’ve broken down three core competencies that are central to understanding the “elusive millennial”, looking at the implications of these to millennial management.
– Aspiration –
If 53% of millennials aspire to be Chief Executive, it’s critical that companies demonstrate their commitment to supporting and fostering aspirations.
“Millennials want a two-way relationship with their employer, creating an unspoken psychological contract where transparency allows for that clear career-progression path”.
– Recognition –
In line with Facebook’s strategy, this piece highlights the importance of creating a two-way feedback process. 68% of millennials appreciate on-going feedback, but this is expected to run both ways. Business leaders must listen to millennial views, in order to “capitalize on a generation that’s plugged in, clued up, savvy and empowered, but self-prioritizing”.
– Flexibility –
A theme that’s come up a lot, this article emphasizes the importance of embracing new, more flexible, ways of working. 70% of tomorrow’s leaders, say Deloitte, may prefer to work independently, so it’s critical that businesses provide the means for millennials to do this – or risk losing them to companies who will, or to their own entrepreneurial ventures.
How to Retain Millennials
No collection of millennial expertise would be complete without referring to CIO, a real authority in the business community. This article makes six suggestions devoted not just to hiring millennial talent, but to retaining it.
1) Competitive salary and growth opportunities
While salary might not be the ultimate priority for millennial hires, they do want to know they’re being fairly compensated. Anything less is an insult. At the same time, growth opportunity is critical to convincing millennial hires to stick around.
The technological era has created a culture of transparency and millennials expect complete openness. A company must be open in sharing why decisions have been made, in order to foster trust and community.
3) Ditch the hierarchy
Retaining millennials means making them feel they have a voice and that they’re valued. Ensure millennial input is valued at all levels, and make sure to promote on the basis of skill not longevity. Create a clear progression plan too, so millennials know what they have to achieve.
A suggestion also made by the Raconteur article, mentorship can be a valuable way to retain millennial employees.
Think atypical though – millennials expect to be able to influence up as well as be influenced. Create a mentorship and reverse mentorship program in which a more senior worker can share feedback, while learning how to embrace more tech savvy ways of working.
5) Brand connectivity
Ensure millennials can live and breathe the company brand. Help millennials believe in the story you’re telling and focus on embedding your values throughout the company.
6) Strengthen digital presence
“Millennials expect digital relevancy”, so it’s important to invest in cutting edge digital tools for internal and external engagement. Not doing so can put off prospective millennial hires, and drive current millennial employees away.
60% of millennials leave their job within 3 years, costing companies up to $25,000 to replace each millennial hire.
This article gives a scathing account of why this is, painting a picture of the workhorse generation graduating from college with mountains of debt and a desire to work that companies take ruthless advantage of. Underpaid and overworked, is it a surprise that millennials lack longevity?
Here are four things companies can do to retain millennial talent, and push that three years up considerably.
1) Pay them!
Student debt is a big weight on most millennials’ minds, and they’ll resent giving you their best if you’re not paying them accordingly. See a salary increase as an investment in loyalty.
2) Respect vacation time
Don’t expect your millennial hires to burn the candle at both ends. Again, think ahead to the long-term and give them downtime to think, create and relax.
3) Focus on growth
Be proactive about supporting your millennial hires’ development. Find out where they want to grow to, why, and what you can do to help them get there.
4) Focus on job titles
This article is one of the few to suggest that millennials value job titles, but it’s an important point. We live in an age where appearances count, and having a job title – and additional responsibility alongside it – that reflects your abilities on the job is important. Developing ‘in-between steps and titles’ can help meet the millennial desire for progression.
Millennials know what they’re worth to a greater extent than previous generations did and, at the same time, know they have many more options than the previous generation had. The Facebooks, the Ubers, the Netflixes – the message these wildly successful start-ups is that anyone can do anything, that the opportunities are endless. The millennial workforce is much more self aware – they know what they can do, they know the value they bring, and they know they don’t need you to do it.
If we call millennials entitled, what we really mean is that they’re scathing about authority for authority’s sake. They have a strong sense of their own worth, and “because I said so” just doesn’t cut it. They’re far from work shy, but they certainly won’t work without a damn good reason. Why should they? Full-time employment is more than ever a choice, not a necessity – if it’s not meaningful and enjoyable, your millennial hires might just choose something that is.
This is the message that permeates these articles: millennials must feel valued. Millennials demand to be appreciated; their opinions listened to, their feedback taken on board. Anything less simply isn’t good enough – they’ll up sticks and go elsewhere before you even have time to say “Sorry but your promotion review isn’t for another 8 months”.
Companies must refocus on the concept of achievement over longevity. Millennials are intolerant of being underestimated on the basis of age, seniority or experience and expect to be judged fairly on their merits, both in terms of respect and reward.
It’s not about being entitled – but about believing that success is earned, and that a great idea can come from anywhere. Embed this belief at the core of your organisation and you’ll be well placed to leverage the skills, innovation, creativity and drive of millennial talent.
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