Proven Tactics to Recruit, Retain and Unleash Millennial Talent

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By 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce. A vast majority of these Millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and make a positive contribution to society. More than previous generations, Millennials are ready to work independently if their needs go unmet by a traditional organization. The organizations up for the challenge of meeting these higher expectations will have the prospect of developing innovative products and services that benefit society, while attracting the most talented next generation workers needed to thrive tomorrow.

Millennial’s Employer Criteria

  • Honest, authentic, and transparent. 50% of Millennials want to work for a business with ethical practices.
  • Foster innovative thinking. 78% of Millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there.
  • Nurture emerging leaders. Almost 1 in 4 Millennials are “asking for a chance” to show their leadership skills.
  • Provide opportunity to make an impact. Millennials believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just financial performance, with a focus on improving society.

How to Recruit Millennials

Millennials want an employer that fits their lifestyle, personality, and priorities. The death of company loyalty, the rise of remote, flexible, and project-based work, and the plethora of entrepreneurship outlets available today have forever changed the employer expectations of the next generations. Those that adapt and find new ways to cultivate loyalty in Millennials will be positioned for next generation success. Begin implementing the below tactics to ensure your future leaders fall head over heels for your company.

  1. Make your career website and application mobile friendly.
  2. Create an employee blog and post the authentic insights and thoughts of your employees.
  3. Create an entertaining video intro to your company. Such as Top 6 Perks You Probably Didn’t Know About Our Company or a virtual tour showing where new hires will park, work, eat (surrounding areas outside of work) and what day 1 will look like.
  4. Showcase young leaders in your business and stress the level of entrepreneurship infused in your company.
  5. Communicate 2-4 potential career paths beyond their entry position and define the professional development opportunities offered by your company.
  6. Specify how your company supports a work/life balance and/or flexible schedules.
  7. Showcase your new technology and highlight their chance of being an early adopter and innovating on day one.
  8. Highlight the company social perks (happy hours, beer cart on Fridays, kickball team, etc.).
  9. Emphasize your community as a cool place to live. Provide a calendar of fun upcoming activities to do in the community (ex: festivals, shopping, outdoor competitions, etc.). Millennials pick a city and then look for a job.
  10. Stress diversity whenever possible.

How to Retain Millennials

Millennials have tremendous talent. But that talent will remain raw potential until companies draw it out. Leaders must decide to focus on the potential rather than Millennial’s shortcomings and what they still have yet to learn. See them as an individual first and an employee second. An investment in their potential will lay a solid foundation of trust that will lead to fierce loyalty.

  1. Start a young professional employee group. Promote this as a place for new Millennials to connect.
  2. Make orientation a high priority. Millennials want to know the culture so they can feel confident they’ve made the right employment decision. The first month on the job largely determines the degree of Millennial loyalty.
  3. Align company goals with Millennial’s personal goals. Also, support non-work goals that they have. Much of a Millennial’s identity is in what they do outside work.
  4. Communicate clear expectations. Millennials need and want to know exactly how you want them to perform.
  5. Expose them to senior leaders and involve them wherever possible in the decision process.
  6. Turn tasks into challenges and give them ownership. Signify completion of challenges, projects, or training by providing tangible outcomes.
  7. Track and communicate career progression and development. Such as an individualized career map that shows where they are now and where they can go.
  8. Decrease the amount of content (emails, reports, etc.) but increase frequency. Think short bursts of info.
  9. Limit social media restrictions and specify communication preferences (who to contact, preferred hours, and which mediums). Strive to find common ground.
  10. Compromise will build loyalty.
  11. Perform exit interviews. Boomerang Millennials (those that leave and then come back) can become a company’s strongest ambassador because they know how good they have it.

How to Reward Millennials

A better way to categorize Millennials instead of the instant gratification generation (or that everyone gets a trophy) is that they are actually outcome-driven. Millennials grew up in a gamified, digital age where their art, ideas, and projects got immediate feedback in the form of likes, shares, views, and comments. Results matter. And rewards can benchmark the success of those

  1. Keep it personal. Millennials respond best when rewards are personal to them. (Ex: donate to their charity of choice, grant special access to a leader, offer a first look at new tech, or award ownership in selecting their next project.)
  2. Eliminate one-size-fits-all motivators (Ex: gift cards and jean days).
  3. Ask Millennials what rewards they want.
  4. Keep in mind Millennials value lifestyle and relationships over work.
  5. Millennials respond best to short-term goals.
  6. Tie rewards to individual performance and also to a team-based metric.
  7. Recognize them in front of those they care about. Try recognizing them on the homepage of the company website/blog or feature them on the company podcast or YouTube/media channel.
  8. Family is Millennials greatest influence. Loyalty will reign if you win the family over. Consider writing handwritten notes to parents without telling the Millennial employee.
  9. Internal motivation can be sparked by internal promotions.
  10. Find ways to make internal promotions unique and a big deal.
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