Are Millennials tougher to deal with in the employment marketplace? Both as employees and also as candidates? The answer to that question: it depends on who you ask.
Some managers and company officials apparently have difficulty, while others do not. Let’s face it: generational differences have existed since . . . well, ever since there were generations. This is not a new phenomenon. Does the newest generation present challenges? Of course it does. Just like every new generation before it.
Are the challenges that the Millennials present insurmountable? Of course not. All that’s needed is a better understanding of the overall dynamics of the situation, as well as greater insight regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this generation.
The two factors that matter most
The two factors that matter the most when dealing with every other generation also matters the most when dealing with Millennials. Those two things are value and motivation.
When you’re looking to fill your open positions, you’re looking for candidates that provide the most value. Millennials have value. However, the value that they provide is somewhat different than previous generations. They’re excellent with technology. They have more of an entrepreneurial spirit. They value teamwork, collaboration, and culture. The key is to identify the value that Millennials bring, both collectively and individually, and match that value to what your organization is seeking.
Since the value that Millennials provide is different, it makes sense that their motivation is also different. In other words, what motivates Millennials is not what motivates members of other generations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just requires an adjustment on the part of those who are attempting to motivate them. (And when you think about it, that makes perfect sense.) However, even though what motivates Millennials is different from other generations, the objective is the same: identify their motivators early in the hiring process and sell to those motivators throughout the process.
Five tips for Millennial success
While value and motivation matter the most, keep in mind that successfully hiring Millennials is just one part of the process. Organizations must also successfully retain them, and as we mentioned earlier, that can be easier said than done.
Below are five tips for connecting with Millennials to both hire and retain them.
#1—Forget about the job-hopping stigma.
The fact of the matter is that people today change jobs more frequently. It’s a reality of the current marketplace. Millennials can change jobs as frequently as every 18 months to two years. So if you see such a trend on a Millennial’s resume, it is not a reason to rule them out. That doesn’t mean they’re not loyal or that they’re always looking for the “bigger, better deal.” It means they’re part of a transient generation that values mobility and flexibility.
#2—Consider their professional point of view.
Remember that many Millennials grew up during the Great Recession. They were teenagers in middle school or high school. Consequently, they view the corporate world with a healthy dose of skepticism. (It might also be a reason that they change jobs as frequently as every two years.) Regardless, you can’t successfully hire and retain the members of this generation by looking at their employment situation the way you would look at your own situation. You must view it through their eyes and take action based upon that perspective.
#3—Emphasize purpose and not just profit.
For Millennials, it’s not just all about the money. Or the benefits. Or the perks. Millennials want fulfillment from their employment and their career. They want to know that what they’re doing is making the world a better place, and they want to know that their employer is also making the world a better place. That’s why your organization’s mission statement is so important and why you should communicate that mission during the hiring process. You want to empower Millennials and give them a purpose . . . a purpose other than just making money for the company, that is.
#4—Learn to “speak their language.”
You’ve probably already noticed that Millennials communicate differently than the generations before them. There are two different facets to this communication. First, Millennials use different terminology, including different slang and jargon. Consider brushing up on these terms; it could be a strategic hiring move. Second, Millennials grew up with more technology than any other generation. Smartphones, social media, texting, email, IM, you name it. That’s how they’re accustomed to communicating, so become proficient in these areas, as well.
#5—Provide feedback more consistently.
Millennials do not respond well to traditional forms of feedback, especially if that feedback is intermittent. According to a recent survey by Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews site, the best way to keep Millennial employees engaged is through a consistent, accurate, and immediate feedback loop. Millennials want to feel as though they’re connected to their work at all times, that they’re moving forward, and that they’re making progress. If they don’t feel that way, then they’ll start looking for that kind of feedback (and fulfillment) elsewhere.
With each passing day, Millennials become a bigger percentage of the overall workforce. According to a 2016 study by the Brookings Institute, Millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans by 2020 and 75% of the workforce by 2025. Clearly, they are not going away. They’ve only just arrived.
With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to start engaging Millennial candidates in a more effective way. The better that you engage them during the hiring process, the better you’ll be able to retain them as employees. A search consultant can help. Recruiters talk to candidates every day, including Millennial candidates. They know how Millennials operate, how they communicate, and what they want.
An experienced search consultant could hold the key to helping hire and retain the Millennial talent that will make a difference within your organization.
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