Gen Why: 3 Quick Ways to Attract and Keep Millennial Talent

— January 8, 2017

Millennial – A name given to the generation of people who were born between 1982 and 2004. Sometimes referred to as ‘Gen Y’, as they follow ‘Gen X’.

First and foremost, a disclaimer – I am a millennial, and because my generation is the largest in the workforce as of 2015 (there are 53.5 million of us and growing), I wanted to share a few tips and tricks to help you tap into fresh talent.Everywhere you look you see businesses working to capture, and most importantly, retain millennial talent. Businesses can expect to see what is being called the ‘Boomer Brain Drain’, over the next two decades. What this means, is that we can expect to see the average, large, company lose 30-40% of its workforce due to retirement, according the Office of Employment Projections. There are obvious successes in the tech world, especially in Silicon Valley where the average age of most employees is 35. However, that does not mean there aren’t ways in which you can attract and retain younger individuals without having to model your approach after the tech startup culture. Here’s what you can do to engage Gen Y:

Reach Them Where They Already Are

1) Social Media: an Essential Millennial Communication Tool

Millennials are drawn to innovation. They don’t want to work in the same stagnant environment their parents did. Establishing a social media presence is necessary if you want to catch millennial flair and add younger ages to your workforce. Are you recruiting on sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and CareerBuilder? Great! If not, stop reading and go set those accounts up this second. We promise to be here when you get back.

Research at FurstPerson has shown using sites like the ones listed above can successfully drive applicant flow to your company. However, if you want to reach millennials, you should be focusing your efforts on social media. Websites and phone applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat are places to consider focusing resources to recruit millennials. On Snapchat alone there are over 100 million daily users, and companies such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have already started recruiting their talent through snaps.

Give the Kids What They Want

No, I don’t mean hold their hands and give out participation trophies. What I mean is pay attention to what is motivating millennials to apply to companies, to take jobs, and to stay at those jobs.

2) Work/Life Balance: Flexibility is Key

Millennials aren’t always super excited about traditional work hours. We all know that work/life balance is critical for business. However, when millennials were surveyed 95% said it was important? Or that a whopping 70% said it was very important to them. There are a multitude of ways to provide a sense of work/life balance to your employees as well. Offer them flexible hours. Instead of working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offer 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Maybe your employees would like to work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour ones. Let them work from home. You may be worried about productivity, but a healthy number of people, including millennials and those from other generations, prefer this option. Plus, this could cut over-head expense for your company. It’s potentially a win-win situation here for both you and your employees.

3) Development: Talk to Me!

When it comes to giving us what we want in a job, providing developmental opportunities and mentoring is crucial. Feedback and growth is a critical motivator for most millennials. A survey conducted by Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs found over 60% of millennials want to hear from their managers at least once a day.

While you might think this importance of feedback puts the responsibility on managers, there is also a role that recruiters can play in vocalizing and marketing the developmental culture of their company. It is critical businesses advertise – and deliver – on this motivator. How critical? When surveyed, 65% of millennials reported the opportunity for personal development was their primary reason for accepting a job offer. In contrast, only 21% said starting salary was the primary reason. Why is this so important to them? Generally, millennials greatly value the opportunity to grow in their career. They want to receive significant amounts of feedback compared to past generations to reach their goals, and they aren’t afraid to ask for it.

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