Hiring and Engaging Millennials in the Workplace

Millennials are the generation born during the period roughly 1981 through 1996. Largely comprised of offspring of the baby boomers, millennials are the largest and fastest growing segment of the workforce. According to The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), as of 2017, they comprised 33 percent of the workforce, but by 2025, they’re expected to make up 75 percent of all U.S. employees.

Not only do their sheer numbers in the workforce make them a dominant force, their backgrounds, values, and their attitude toward work and career—which diverge markedly from earlier generations—suggest that hiring managers must try to understand their needs and tailor their talent acquisition strategy accordingly.

According to a January 2018 Brookings Institution report, Millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history: “minorities make up 44 percent of the more than 75 million millennials living in the U.S.” And, women have increased their participation in the workforce. These trends are expected to continue with future generations.

The millennial generation also boasts more college degrees than their predecessors, making them the most educated generation ever. In addition, having grown up during the digital revolution, millennials are also much more tech savvy and hyper-connected than earlier generations.

The bulk of millennials came of age and entered the workforce at a time of uncertainty related to globalization, the 2001 terrorist attack, and two financial collapses. This uncertainty combined with the effects of college debt, stagnant wages, and astronomic housing costs, may explain why millennials are more entrepreneurial and willing to take risks to take control of their future than preceding generations.

Attracting Millennials to the Workplace

Their principal focus in seeking employment is not necessarily earning a steady paycheck and/or committing to one company for career advancement—like many of their parents. Rather, they are intent on seeking out jobs they think might be interesting and meaningful, allowing them to make a positive contribution to society or to the environment. They are particularly interested in jobs (and companies) that offer a work-life balance, providing flexibility in terms of when and where they work.

According the 2017 U.S. News & World Report Best Jobs for Millennials rankings, in terms of career decisions, millennials place work-life balance second only to salary in importance. Millennials prioritize flexibility, learning opportunities, teamwork and projects that contribute to the common good.

To attract and retain millennial talent, companies must demonstrate dedication to innovation and advancing the greater good, as well as offering a flexible work environment enabled by the latest in digital technology.

Recruiting Strategies for Millennials

Of course, the best way to reach prospective millennial employees is via their digital habitat, creating a slick, easy to navigate, SEO-optimized website and careers page, as well as using social media and online advertising. But, recruiting millennials can be tricky business. Armed with the latest in technology at their fingertips, millennials can find out much of what they need to know about your company with just a few clicks. Websites like glassdoor.com feature illuminating reviews from anonymous employees, allowing candidates to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The era of digital transparency makes it imperative that companies effectively manage their brand and reputation in the marketplace by adopting workplace strategies that foster employee engagement and satisfaction. For similar reasons, it’s also important to ensure that job candidates—whether hired or not—have a good experience during their recruiting process, leaving them with a positive view of your company.

Retaining and Managing Millennials

In addition to meaningful work that allows for innovation and some measure of autonomy, along with a flexible workplace, it’s important that millennials perceive a clear path for advancement. Millennials, even more so than earlier generations, need to perceive they’re progressing in their career or they will seek opportunities elsewhere. Onboarding and training new employees effectively and providing them with ongoing opportunities for growth, including professional development, will go a long way toward ensuring their long term satisfaction.

Managing millennials also requires a different approach from earlier generations. Given their need to find purpose in their work and/or align with the company’s mission, they need to feel empowered to effect change. A collaborative rather than authoritative management style will yield better results. Mentoring and frequent feedback are also key.

Given millennials’ huge and growing presence in the workforce, all companies are going to have to figure out, if they haven’t already, how to successfully recruit, manage, and retain them in the workplace.

LINK can help your company effectively source and hire millennials. Contact LINK today.