A thriving economy creates its own set of organizational challenges, including how companies can best attract new talent as well as retain and engage current employees – particularly Millennials. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 Millennials became the largest generation currently working and now comprise 35 percent of the U.S. labor force.
As of 2017, 56 million Millennials were working or looking for work. As a result, management should be aware of the values and influences that resonate with Millennials and consider implementing the following steps in order to attract, retain and manage this important group.
Build the Foundation
Employees of all ages often seek a connection between their personal and professional missions and strive to add organizational value to their employer. Companies that create and foster individual strengths and give employees the opportunity to excel may be more likely to produce efficient and successful teams.
This recipe for individual success can prove invaluable to the recruitment and retention of Millennials. According to a recent Gallup poll, 34 percent of U.S. workers are engaged, which is only a slight increase compared to the 30 percent average reported during the last 18 years.
This may signal a lack of understanding around what drives workers. Effective organizations may set up accountability systems and provide individuals with the tools and resources necessary to leverage their strengths, including career coaching and regular professional development opportunities. An effective leader should openly share how an individual’s role connects to the organization’s mission.
Implement the Motivators
Understanding what Millennials value is one aspect of successful recruitment, but the key is being able to deliver on their needs once hired. According to Gallup’s 2016 report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, 59 percent of Millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.
Employees may look to companies to offer training not only on technical skills needed to succeed, but also with regard to building interpersonal skills, confidence and ethical behavior.
This desire for additional training is underscored by a job-hopping trend among younger workers, which may signal a need for new experiences in the workplace.
Successful organizations realize that connecting with employees and building loyalty with Millennials can help increase tenure, provide a competitive advantage and increase employee engagement.
Find the Talent
One of the best ways a company can identify skilled candidates may be through existing, top-performing employees. Successful people often tend to build strong professional and personal circles around like-minded individuals who value challenging work and divergent viewpoints. Additionally, there is often an inner drive to succeed and contribute to a team.
Beyond utilizing current team members to recruit prospective employees, companies may consider focusing on passive candidates. These include individuals who would make a solid addition to a company or team but are not actively searching for a new job.
Select the Right Candidates
A stable balance between high-potential employees and experienced professionals can be vital in developing and fostering a dependable team. In today’s tight labor market, candidate assessment is crucial and requires identification of the most suitable applicants based on both legal and organizational perspectives.
Below are a few techniques that may prove helpful in evaluating potential Millennial candidates:
- Ask prospective employees to create a personal mission statement before the initial interview that can be shared during the first discussion. This exercise can help determine whether or not there is a clear connection between the candidate’s personal values and the organization’s, ensuring alignment and a good culture match.
- If interviewing a candidate for the second or third time, consider hosting the interview off-site to observe the prospect’s interactions with others, especially the public. These observations may provide insight into the candidate’s communication style, adaptability and conflict-management skills.
- Place importance on hiring for attitude as opposed to solely relying on qualifications and experience. This can help identify a strong culture fit with the company, as well as determine the individual’s ability to be coached or mentored once hired.
Consider the Benefits Offered
Financial issues exist for all generations and Millennials are no different. Student debt can be a cause for anxiety and stress for many young people in the workforce, and stressed employees may find it more difficult to focus and be productive.
Successful organizations understand that paying a competitive salary and providing flexible benefits are only part of the compensation equation. Offering unique or unusual benefits, especially those focused on easing financials concerns, may help companies stand out and beat the competition.
For example, implementing sliding-scale loan payments based on seniority is one way companies can enhance standard benefits offerings.
If enhanced financial benefits are not an option, there are other avenues to support Millennials burdened with significant educational debt. Providing sufficient resources to assist in debt management can relieve some of the burden.
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP), as part of the corporate benefits package, is a low-cost option. By connecting individuals with financial subject matter experts, companies can also enhance trust with employees. If Millennials see there is an advocate for assistance, it can reduce stress, increase loyalty to their employer and boost engagement.
Millennials may often be perceived as young professionals, fresh out of college, but the reality is that the oldest members of the generation are now approaching 40 with the potential to bring years of experience and leadership to a new position.
Consequently, effectively engaging this group may allow companies the chance to shift focus to the newest group of individuals entering the workforce: Generation Z.
Michael Timmes is senior human resource specialist with Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 32 years. Insperity provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.
Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution.
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This is a guest post by By Michael Timmes, Insperity