The good news is that this demographic will infuse the workplace with a fresh perspective and new ways of thinking. The challenge is that Millennials have expectations that differ from the generations that preceded them. This will create significant organizational change and many new challenges to be addressed. Older generations label Millennials as entitled, self-absorbed, and even unreliable. As with most stereotypes, these perceptions will be only partially accurate for some of the many workers in this generational category. Regardless, organizations and the leaders setting direction will need to respond and change. Methods and practices for employee attraction and retention will need to be examined.
Let’s take a look at some of the attraction and retention issues that will need to be examined.
The most obvious benefit is compensation. In an increasingly competitive and limited talent pool, employers and the recruiters that represent them will need to be well aware of the market for each position. Differentiation will be key and each employer will be battling for a limited talent pool. If you are OK with B and C players, just offer a competitive salary. If you want the cream of the crop and A players, you will need to differentiate. Student loan assistance and 401(k) programs with employee matching will be key components of differentiated offers of employment.
Flexibility is key. Millennials, like all employees, value a trusted relationship. They want to work independently and expect the chance to do some work remotely. They tend to blend work and non-work activities in a way that earlier generations avoided. While work-life balance is a key trait, it is not unexpected for work to be done outside of the traditional 9 to 5 routine. Work from home options are valued and have a positive impact on productivity according to many studies — and cost little to the employer.
Recruiters and hiring managers need to promote and differentiate your brand to attract the best. By being familiar with the company policies and emphasizing the highlights of what is offered, the ability to attract top talent will be enhanced.
Critical to this Millennial audience, as with any employee audience, will be career path options. Employers desirous of maintaining young and progressive talent need to provide options and benefits that promote employees that stay the course. Programs for on the job training, mentoring relationships and career planning initiatives will be important for success. Since this group is considered a more-likely job-hopping group than generations before, employers can be resistant to making this investment in this talent. That is a sure recipe for turnover. Employers must shift their considerations. Focus on “how do I keep the talent I have attracted” by investing in retention strategies.
Millennials are also more likely to invest in organizations that are socially responsible. That can come in many shapes from the level of diversity obvious in the workplace, to ethics, to charitable engagement, to time off for volunteering. The limits in these areas are only controlled by your imagination. Retention will be impacted by how much, how often and how well employers use their imaginations.
The workforce of the future will consist of more Millennials than ever before. Now is the time to create a foundation for attraction and retention of this core audience that will enable growth and prosperity. No action could doom your organization to underperformance. Get ready!