Updated: May 6
More than any other generation.
That equates to about 1/3 of the current workforce, but by 2030, Millennial employees are expected to increase to over 75% of the working population.
Most employers scratch their heads trying to understand Millennials, and we agree that this unique generation deserves to be heard and understood. We celebrate the fact that the No. 1 strength for a Millennial is Adaptability (versus Input as #1 for Gen X, and Responsibility #1 for Baby Boomers), but we don’t think understanding Millennials is enough.
As a 2015 Huffington Post blog by Patrick Thean clearly pointed out “The complicated part of employing this new generation isn’t necessarily understanding them, but attracting and retaining them.”
Thean goes on to mention that only 28% of Millennials feel their current employer is utilizing all of their skills.
So how do you entice the Millennial crowd to want to work for your company? According to Simon Sinek, popular author and organizational consultant, it takes more than just free food and bean bags.
Take a moment to listen to Sinek's take on the Millennial workforce.
Attracting Top Millennial Talent
Here are 3 major questions Millennial job applicants will be asking themselves about your company:
1. What is the company culture like?
In order to attract top Millennial talent, wise interviewers know it’s not enough to simply communicate job responsibilities and expectations in an interview. Applicants should leave the interview understanding the values, purpose, and workplace traditions of the organization.
In other words, the company culture.
According to Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup, “Baby Boomers like me didn’t necessarily need meaning in our jobs…For Millennials, compensation is important and must be fair, but it is no longer the driver.”
Millennials want to work for a company with exceptional culture that aligns with their personal values.
According to Javier Munoz, a lead coach at Delivering Happiness, a workplace culture consulting firm, company culture is more than just a popular buzzword:
“Culture isn’t just that fluffy, feel good stuff that happens at company outings or happy hours, it’s an integral part of your business. When describing culture to clients we often say, culture is the stuff that happens when you are not in the room. It’s how your team communicates, solves problems, and treats one another daily.”
Crafting a unique and value-centered culture is important, but the ability to communicate your culture to a perspective employee is paramount.
2. How supportive are they of work/life integration?
In today’s world of technology and constant communication, it’s difficult to unplug and compartmentalize your life. Work/life balance is no longer ideal, as it suggests you have to balance both your work responsibilities with your personal relationships and activities.
Instead, experts are re-branding this idea as work/life integration: a “fitting and realistic alternative for the ambitious, determined worker who not only places equal importance on the success of both their work and private lives but seeks to handle both simultaneously”.
Millennials are accustomed to balancing a lot of different activities, from friends and family to hobbies and sports. Due to this never ceasing demand on their time, they are looking for companies that offer some flexibility to their work/life integration.
How often does a company limit their employees’ ability to get on social media while at work, but think nothing of calling or emailing them about work specific tasks after hours?
Millennial workers are not expecting to totally unplug from their work roles and responsibilities after they leave the office, but they also expect to have some flexibility in how they integrate their private lives into their day. Therefore, Millennials see value in flexible hours and location. According to Business Insider:
64% of Millennials would like the option to work from home on occasion
66% would like to shift their hours
The reason Millennials would appreciate a re-imagined work week is because they are more interested in output than hours. Most Millennials would not mind putting in extra hours for a task that calls for the additional time and effort, however, they would prefer not to sit and wait at the office for the time clock to run out if their work is already complete.
3. Will they help me grow?
One major perk Millennials are craving is on-going feedback from their bosses about their job performance, and sadly, many current employers are missing the mark.
According to an article by Jeff Fromm, Millennials in the workplace are not impressed with current job performance evaluation practices:
69% think the way they are evaluated at work is flawed (because it lacks feedback throughout the entire year)
90% think they would be more confident if they had on-going opportunities to check in with their supervisor
75% felt they were “in the dark” about their own job performance.
Fromm concluded that Millennials are looking for a company that cares about their personal development, and are so interested in opportunities for growth, that they will leave a job if they are not receiving any “personal benefit or growth”.
So what’s the solution?
Try these tips:
Make a discussion about culture part of your interview process. Introduce the job applicant to your unique culture and ask him/her how he/she would add value to it.
Work together to create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each employee. IDPs are a partnership between you and your employee that gives them clear short-term and long-term goals at work that will benefit you both.
Check in with your employees often, instead of saving all your comments and concerns for an annual review.
Try coaching your employees instead of just managing them. Adopting a strengths-based approach to leadership can help.
Millennials are adding so much value to our organizations. We need to do more than understand them.
If we want to attract and retain them, we need to cultivate exceptional workplace cultures, take an interest in their work/life harmony, and coach and develop them.
Thanks for visiting the #roitalentdev blog.
We help leaders and organizations build happy and healthy workplaces, prevent low employee engagement and lead with a strengths-based approach to personal and team development.