Quick Tips on Hiring and Retaining Millennials from a Millennial

By 2025, 3 out of 4 workers globally will be Millennials.  Are your hiring efforts keeping up with the times?

What group can’t make it out of bed before 10 to get to the coffee shop to start a blog post, consults their iPhone for any misunderstanding and job-hops like crazy? Being one, I can assure you that it’s Millennials. Among many employers, millennials have come to be seen as a mysterious, misunderstood “creature” that has entered the workforce in masses in recent years.  Their preferences are completely foreign to traditional Gen Xers and Baby Boomers and they are often the subject of  many stereotypes, which are often not too far from the truth (speaking from experience.)  However, despite the difficulty they experience getting up for a 9 o’clock call, millennials have a lot to offer and  are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.” While Millennial employees’ mindset may seem completely foreign to previous generations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are any less engaged. Despite the stereotypes you’ve heard, the reality is that the success of American companies depends on the understanding and engagement of this new generation. And honestly, we’re really not that bad. 

The Millennial Persona

The first step in effectively attracting and engaging millennials is understanding what they’re looking for. The persona of millennials is very different from that of the Gen Xers and Baby boomers due largely to the fact that they grew up strongly immersed in technology.  A recent study by Jibe shows that: 

  • 16.8% reported wanting a good work/life balance
  • 13.4% reported wanting opportunities to progress & be leaders
  • 11% reported wanting flexibility
  • 9.3% reported wanting a sense of meaning from their work
  • 8.3% reported wanting professional development programs

Taking these into consideration, here are a few quick tips when hiring millennials: 

Look for Independent learners.

The past few years have seen an enormous growth in online education. We have seen this firsthand in our work with a millennial-centric university for Media Arts. Young, tech-savvy, people are turning  to technology to improve their skill sets remotely and don’t hesitate to consult youtube tutorials to learn anything from perfecting a top bun (ladies, you know what i’m talking about) to coding. Thus, when looking at a millennial’s resume it’s essential to look at their eagerness to learn rather than their traditional experience. Are they immersing themselves in programs in order to learn more about their craft? A smart recruiter won’t judge a younger candidate only on their experience but instead will take this eagerness & adeptness to learn and use it to their advantage. A young & ambitious worker who is looking to master their craft is invaluable to a company.  

Make them want to stay at your company.

Millennials are job-hoppers. In fact, according to research commissioned by Jive Communications, of the 2,000 American millennials surveyed (ages 18-34), more than half (53%) have had three or more jobs since the start of their careers.  This is unfamiliar territory to a lot of Gen Xers and Baby boomers. 

Additionally, not only do Millennials want to feel personally valued and cared about, they want a job that encourages their professional development and gives them opportunity to grow. By asking for their input, valuing their goals and helping them to get there, you can make them want to stick around. 

Give them Flexibility.

For many millennials, having a job with flexibility is essential. Many aren’t attracted to the traditional 9-5 schedule and want to come and go as they please, as long as they get the job done. Instead of having them log hours, you may want to gauge millennial employees by the quality of their work and whether they’re completing assignments on time. Try giving them less strict working hours and/or the ability to work remotely and measure if their productivity decreases.

Modernize your Branding.

I’m definitely attracted to hip & modern things and so are a majority of my friends.  Beautiful websites sell me, and companies that are innovative and value-driven are instantly more appealing to me as a millennial.  If you don’t trust my opinion, there’s research to support it. According to the 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, any app that doesn’t have an appealing logo on their home screen could get deleted by Millennials. This proves how much aesthetic matters to this generation and how companies should focus on creating crisp, smart and attractive brands to attract them. 

Be as Tech-Savvy & Fast Pace as they are.

Milennials want to be a part of a company that’s growing, evolving and improving. It’s hard for me to get behind a company that still has ancient technology, which is unfortunately still the reality of many traditional businesses. As a generation of networking and constant connectedness, to information and individuals, you need to be just as fast paced as they are in order to keep them engaged. 

Having grown up with innovative companies like Apple, millennials expect regular updates and the frequent release of new products. Companies need to be visionary in their approach and always forward-thinking. With access to hundreds of options at any given moment, companies who fail to innovate  will get left behind.

Have a Media Presence.

Millennials get their news, shop, communicate for personal and professional reasons, and conduct research all on their smartphones. In fact, Millennials spend an average of  5.4 Hours every day on social media, and 37% of the global population is now active on one or more social media platforms. 

Thus, it makes sense that when millennials are looking for a job, they consult social media as part of their search, which I’ve seen firsthand.  Most of my friends find out about job opportunities, career development programs or events on facebook, and when they find companies whose presence on social media projects an environment and a culture they find attractive, they are far more likely to respond to job openings with those organizations.

According to Bill King, a millennial and head of digital marketing at AvidXchange, “The purpose (of his social media strategy) is to give followers a transparent view of the company, its staff, and its culture. It is one thing to tell people the company is a great place to work; it is quite another to ‘show’ them through visuals – photos of the workplace, of an average day of work for employees, and of company events off-campus.”

By doing this, he attracts top talent and makes millennials want to be a part of his team. 

For companies that wish to keep their employees around for longer than 2 years — the average time a millennial believes they should stay at a job before looking for another — it’s important to consider these tips. 

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