Last year, millennials surpassed Gen-Xers as the most widely represented generation in the workforce, and by 2020 they’re predicted to make up half the entire labor force. More immediately, with graduation season coming up, there’s an estimated 1.8 million fresh Gen-Yers looking to land jobs, and if you want to add the best of them to your team, you need to have a plan to attract, hire and retain top millennial talent.
Perhaps the first realization recruiters should make is that, in many ways, hiring a millennial isn’t much different than hiring anyone else. Considerations key to other generations, like compensation and work-life balance, are also particularly important to millennials.
That’s good news, but now that we have the similarities out of the way, what qualities do set millennials apart, and how can you use this knowledge to attract Gen-Yers?
Research from The New York Times, Deloitte, Human Resources Management Center (HRMC) reports that millennials want to be engaged in a company with purpose. They want to feel important and recognized, and they want flexible working conditions enabling them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Further, as Jason Demers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, writes in Inc., “Millennials like to get feedback and see rewards for their work. According to PwC, 41% of millennials (compared to 30% of non-millennials) prefer more frequent recognition.” After all, this is the social media generation; millennials are used to and like attention. They want to know that their good work is recognized and prefer working environments that include and encourage frequent feedback.
Successfully hiring any candidate means appealing to their wants, and if you want to better attract top Gen Y talent, you’ll need adapt your recruiting strategy to the above.
Furthermore, when positioning your recruitment marketing efforts for millennials, here are the three unique value propositions you should emphasize in your employment opportunities: a meaningful challenge, a culture of consideration, and purpose beyond profit.
A Meaningful Challenge
Consider the results from Glassdoor’s 2016 Employees’ Choice Awards. Among the top 10 are companies like Google (no.8), Facebook (no.5), and Airbnb (no.1). All three are companies known for a combination of rigor and positivity, where workers are called upon to overcome the challenges of the day with innovation, creativity, and hard work.
The candidate selection process at these firms is likewise rigorous and in-depth. In short, these companies look for candidates the same way top millennial talent looks for jobs: thorough research, deep consideration, and analysis of culture fit. They believe that you can change a skill set but you can’t change an attitude.
Millennials take the job hunt seriously, and they expect recruiters to as well. Accordingly, recruiters should consider having more touch points with a millennial candidate to tighten their communication. If a top millennial recruit feels the selection process isn’t rigorous enough, they might think the job is beneath their potential. On the other hand, if the process is too demanding, they might feel as though the company might expect them to devote their entire life to the firm, which we know is a red flag. Thus the perfect candidate experience is one of balance, showing young recruits that the work is accessible, important and enjoyable.
A Culture of Consideration
Deloitte reports in their Millennial Survey 2016:
“When salary or other financial benefits are removed from the equation, work/life balance and opportunities to progress or take on leadership roles stand out. Those factors are followed by flexible working arrangements, deriving a sense of meaning, and training programs that support professional development. An employer that can offer these is likely to be more successful than its rivals in securing the talents of the millennial generation.”
To older veterans of the workforce, this millennial insistence on the flexibility of both working hours and workspace could be confusing or come off as immature. The millennial’s world, however, is one of constant connection, instant communication, and perpetual access to the world at large. The idea of a rigorous structure detailing when and where they accomplish their work tasks seems archaic and equally confusing. It’s clear that millennials want to work, and they want to work hard, they just want to do it on their terms, and unlike older generations, they have the tools to do so.
Your entire hiring team should know your company’s official policy on flexible working hours and telecommuting. If you are a hiring leader in your company, make sure everyone is trained to answer work environment questions; clear working conditions expectations go a long way toward fruitful hire.
Purpose Beyond Profit
Millennials want to work for companies that care about them as individuals as well as workers, and companies that care for the world at large.
Furthermore, as Deloitte maintains, most millennials plan on leaving their current job within two years if they are able to. The exception, however, comes when they feel their values align with that of their employer, and when their job gives them a sense of purpose. Eighty-eight percent of those who indicated they planned on staying in their current jobs for five years or more cited ‘sense of purpose’ as the main reason behind their loyalty.
Recruiters need to emphasize company purpose in the millennial hiring process. Across every touch point, subtly remind millennial talent that your company wants to do more than just make money. Make you mission, goals and values known, and be sure that every member of your hiring team is doing the same.