Attracting and engaging millennial talent

YGenStudies have shown that millennials – those born between 1980 and 1995 – don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps when it comes to work. Instead, many take a different route, on many levels, from how they view their jobs to how they do them. And since millennials will make up nearly half the U.S. workforce within the next few years, employers wishing to attract young talent must recognize and accommodate this.

Unlike previous generations, millennials tend not to seek jobs requiring long and/or regular hours or frequent travel. Studies also show that they feel it’s unwise, even risky, to invest too many years at one company. And “dressing for success” may be less about the suit and tie and more about the flip-flops.

At the same time, millennials are driven, striving for great careers that provide ongoing feedback, camaraderie, and professional development. Technologically savvy, these up-and-comers are agile users of social media and the Internet. They like to get things done quickly and expect time to pursue personal interests.

What’s caused this tectonic shift in workplace attitudes? Some point to doting parents, who haven’t pushed their kids enough or required them to hold jobs outside of school. Now adults, millennials raised this way feel they should be rewarded just for showing up. But, to their advantage, as technology has evolved, millennials have evolved right along with it. Companies hoping to attract and engage them must take this into consideration.

To recruit and retain this newest generation of workers, consider the following:

Understand how they like to work: Create an authentic and compelling employee value proposition (EVP), true to your company’s culture. Survey employees to discover what motivates them and what they value about working for the organization, and use the feedback. An organization’s EVP and environment must align with the individual’s own value structure.

Take onboarding up a notch: Create emotional connections with your millennials before their start dates. Use technology to familiarize them with your company’s culture and to get a feel for the type of relationships you’ll be fostering.

Implement a reward program: In most cases, it is not all about the money. It is about fairness of reward and how reward is distributed among the workforce. Data has shown that while most employees indicated salary as the most influential factor in choosing one job over another, many consider work/life balance and opportunities for advancement as major factors.

Rethink the annual review: Many millennials feel the annual review is a waste of time, and don’t understand how actual performance is measured. They’re interested in ongoing feedback and would prefer to focus on growth and development; they’d rather be “coached” than “bossed.” If necessary, you may need to retrain managers to accommodate this trend.

Update your information distribution strategy: Massive manuals and lengthy seminars are dinosaurs. Millennials like their information in short bursts, like text messages or brief videos. To engage them even further, market specific information towards individual employees.

By catering to your millennials’ needs, your company will also grow and evolve. Not only will you be able to attract and retain the right employees, you’ll also benefit from their technical expertise and a fresh new viewpoint.