Millennial. The term conjures up a variety of images for hiring managers, most often of Ping-Pong tables and company refrigerators stocked with beers.
It is not a coincidence that finding and retaining young talent is difficult, and recently it has become paramount to the success of companies as millennial turnover is reported to cost the U.S. $30.5 billion annually, according to a report from Gallup.
In 2015, millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center. With that and the younger Generation Z approaching university graduation, the time to digest our findings about these workers is over, and the time for action is now.
To attract young talent, organizations will need to be as nimble as their prospects, able to pivot quickly to add the perks that employees want and drop the dead weight that doesn’t serve employees or the company. Millennials are uber-connected and accustomed to filtering quickly through options to find the fit they want. But contrary to our stereotypes, millennials can also be loyal and eager to develop themselves professionally.
Here are five useful tips on enticing and retaining top young talent:
- Get Connected: Use the latest technology to connect with younger talent on a multitude of levels. Technology does not have to be intimidating. It should focus on simple and efficient content that millennials will find engaging. Millennials are used to consuming information in a variety of formats via social media and popular websites. In fact, 56 percent of millennials would turn down a job from a company that bans or disapproves of social media usage according to Office Vibe.
With 87 percent of millennials reporting that they would rather work for a video-enabled organization versus companies that have not invested in video technology, it would be wise to utilize quicker absorption messaging by leveraging video and infographic assets. Engage with millennials on their preferred platforms and emulate the style of this content on your own platform for native engagement.
- Promote Purpose: Give millennial employees a sense of purpose besides the bottom line. Finding a company more aligned with their passions ranks among the top four reasons millennials consider leaving their jobs, according to Boston College. Also, 84 percent of millennials believe that making a difference in the world is more important than professional recognition as stated by Office Vibe. To pique interest from this demographic, companies and organizations must promote a sense of purpose and should get personal.
According to Digitalist Magazine, in today’s work life, ‘’purpose is no longer a nice-to-have; it is a must-have, strategic imperative,” as the site’s blog states.
Differentiating your company is the first step to attracting young talent and the biggest differentiators these days come from committing to something. Millennials are committed to social causes. Your company should also support a social cause. Values in action are what millennials care about.
Attract the right young talent to your organization by being authentic in your purpose to ensure that job seekers’ values align with the organization’s values. This also leads to longer employee retention and increased engagement, which have tangible impacts on the bottom line.
- Offer Transparency: Break down traditional barriers to offer young talent the transparency they desire. This is especially important during the hiring process. When interviewing millennial job seekers, be as forthright as you can be to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to honesty and transparency. More than one-third of millennials ranked transparency and the willingness to share information as a top attribute for a perfect boss, according to a study by IBM.
Transparency also translates to higher retention rates. Millennials and young talent crave feedback, with 77 percent stating that frequent face-to-face meetings are important, 10 percent higher than their Generation X counterparts, according to Office Vibe. It is not especially difficult for organizations to embrace this aspect of their younger employees. Initiate frequent ‘mini’ performance reviews and one-on-one meetings to discuss short-term goals and give millennial talent a touch-point with management and an objective to reach.
- Constant Learning: Provide opportunities to learn and grow through training resources and clear paths to career advancement. Millennials do want stability and opportunity, and if they don’t believe those things exist they will seek out other employers. According to Gallup, 87 percent of millennials specifically targeted their job search to organizations that provided trainings, workshops and other development resources.
For hiring managers and leadership, it is a matter of communicating the existence of these opportunities. A breakdown in communication can be catastrophic when it comes to young employees. Make it abundantly apparent to young talent what your organization does to advance their careers.
- Flexible Compensation: Flexibility can be ambiguous for employers and employees, alike. Some find compressed work weeks successful whereas other employees and organizations prefer telecommuting options. According to Deloitte, 84 percent of millennials desire some degree of flexibility, indicating that, like the perk they so desire, the generation, itself, is open to options here.
The key for organizations is to not be afraid of the term “flexibility” but rather to identify which areas are ripe for non-traditional incentives within the existing structure. It may be impossible to integrate remote work into your corporate structure, but flexible hours or compressed work weeks could provide employees with the wiggle room they need to be successful. The key to these out-of-the-box measures is to understand what millennial employees are trying to accomplish with their flexible time: more balance. Millennials, more than any other generation, are focused on work/life balance. To attract and retain top millennial talent in your organization, you also must prioritize this and don’t forget to include non-traditional job categories and compensation models to speak to new work trends.
Successfully finding, hiring and retaining young talent is not a new challenge for the HR industry. In fact, every generation brings its own unique needs and challenges to the table, and hiring managers have always juggled these needs. By understanding the desires and objectives of our youngest workers, we can provide the right balance of structure and elasticity to satisfy the largest generation in our workforce. Only through this understanding can we all have a successful outcome.