Business Tips, Advice, Strategies - Beyond HR Solutions

Attracting and Retaining the Millennial Employee

by Barry on May 16, 2016

MillennialsWhat exactly do millennials look for in their job searches?

Surprisingly, Millennials, like no other generation before them, are forcing employers to reconsider all the former HR hiring standards that we once thought true. Essentially, Millennials have rewritten the rules in the workplace. Also you may be surprised, but it turns out that previous assumptions made regarding Millennial employees are actually inaccurate based on recent collected data from The Harvard Business Review.

Millennial Employees – The Skinny

If your company wants to attract and retain Millennials, you need to understand what drives them and what they look for in an employer. Although they do differ from older generations, there are some similarities.

According to a recent article on The Harvard Business Review’s website, Millennials score off the charts when it comes to job-hopping. Says the article:

Millennials, it seems, really are the job hoppers people say they are. Those born between 1980 and 1996 are the most likely to look for and change jobs, according to Gallup’s new report “How Millennials Want to Work and Live.” On the job-hopping question, we found that 21% of Millennial workers had left their job in the last year to do something else, a number that is more than three times higher than that of non-Millennials who report doing the same.

Although the “job-hopper” label could be considered a negative trait, the Harvard Business Review’s findings say that this might actually be a good thing. HBR calls these employees “consumers of the workplace”. Since they tend to shop around for positions that align with their ultimate goals, you may be able to use this knowledge to your advantage. They may have a different definition of company loyalty than we are used to, but it’s a new day.

Bottom line: If you know how to attract and retain these folks, you become more an “employer of choice”and more competitive. So what do Millennials look for in a job?

There are three things that you can do to attract and retain Millennials. Believe it or not, money is not at the top of the list.

  • Flexibility and Mobility

Millennials are used to being available by text, Facetime or the like. Personal time doesn’t seem more effective to them than just being available. Schedules are unnecessary in some ways because they don’t feel the need to be confined in order to be reached. Work can be done anywhere. Does that mean you should cater to this demand completely and let them come and go whenever they choose? You may not have to go that far. But flexibility and some work-from-home options may go far when it comes to retention. See my article on telecommuting for more on balancing remote work vs. on site.

  • Solution Leaders

Millennials love to be part of the solution. They pay attention to how they fit into the process and how the company fits with their own goals. Give them a chance to solve and be a part of the larger cause. And, they are just as concerned with the company’s contribution to the world, the company’s larger social purpose.

Says Fortune Magazine:

Be transparent about how personal goals are aligned to the goals of the organization so that even a junior employee understands how their daily labors are aligned to what the company is doing as a whole.

  • Inspiration

Millennials like to be inspired. Not simply in it for a paycheck, they are less about training and more about inspiration. Encourage creativity, innovation and problem solving and you will have a very productive employee on your hands. Micro-manage this employee and you’ll be seeing her or him in your rear-view mirror before long.

Given that this generation, more than any other, will leave a company for reasons other than money, you’d be smart to try and achieve these three retention strategies geared specifically toward their needs. Of course, money is important and studies show they will shop around, as I stated earlier, but doing your best to inspire, create a sense of purpose, and offer some mobility and flexibility, will go a long way to attracting and retaining the best millennial candidates. After all, given they’re the largest U.S. generation right now, you don’t really have a choice.

Contact Barry Davis for more on a PEO partnership or on any information covered in the article.



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