Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Millennials: 4 Compelling Reasons

akraya_millenialsBy the year 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total workforce will comprise over 75% millennials. As their percentage grows, it’s time to sit up and take notice of what we might have to do differently to attract and retain this generation. Millennials want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers and society), products and purpose—and less on profits.

Regardless of being labeled as the “Entitled Generation,” for the Temp Staffing industry, this millennial generation presents an incredible talent opportunity.

In 2013, Akraya and Intuit were ranked the #1 Best Place to Work by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in our respective size categories. Intuit CEO Brad Smith invited me for lunch at Intuit’s impressive Mountain View campus, where we talked about the staffing challenges Intuit faces. What he had to say was particularly interesting for its impact on our industry: Despite being a Best Place to Work, Intuit was struggling to attract and retain millennials, like many large employers. He explained that there is a significant shift in what millennials want. Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials value a variety of projects and experiences, as compared to long-term, steady employment. They are not expecting loyalty from employers, nor are they willing to commit long term to an employer.

This is a remarkable opportunity for the temporary staffing industry, since we provide exactly what millennials are seeking – the ability to work on a variety of interesting projects.

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However, in order for us, and our clients, to effectively work with millennials, we will need to do more than offer interesting projects. We need to change our mindsets and approach to prepare for this generation and make sure we can retain and motivate this growing workforce. Taking from our lessons as a Best Place to Work, to be an employer of choice for millennials, here are four key points to keep in mind.

Demonstrate purpose beyond profit: Millennials are interested in the “purpose beyond profit” and activities and it’s worth noting that causes and goals that align towards these will strike a chord with this generation. Akraya gives back via sponsoring of local charities, mentoring programs and being a Certified Green Business, for example.

Offer learning and development opportunities: Over the years, many of our best hires have been fresh college graduates, and we’ve noticed that by mentoring them and providing both formal training and ongoing coaching, we’ve received long-term loyalty and employees whose values align well with ours. Such interventions offer a proactive way to keep millennials constantly challenged and offer them a continuous path to their development.

Leverage technology and trends: As the always-connected generation, millennials want their employer to keep up with the times. Are you using technology as an enabler? Have you built a solid social strategy? Do you have a mobile friendly site and internal services that can be accessed with ease? Are you using text, chat and slack? This generation demands secure uploads and access to various online resources. Your organization needs to be geared up to make sure that the technology supports activities that are valued to the employees and help them work better.

Offer varied projects: Millennials are highly motivated by accomplishments and will look to complete new and interesting projects to augment their careers. Offer them different projects that might not necessarily be part of their regular work, to make sure they have variety on their plate. Build in formal and informal ways to appreciate them when they’re performing well on these additional challenges.

Millennials currently hold an underemployment rate of around 34%, according to the BLS, meaning their degrees are not being used. That is fantastic news for an industry that knows well how to match qualifications to real-world opportunities.

There is every indication that millennials will continue to make incredible contributions to the temp staffing industry. In fact, if you have a contractor between the ages of 16 and 36, you’ve already begun to staff the millennial generation.

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Amar Panchal

Amar Panchal
Amar Panchal is co-founder and CEO of Akraya.

Amar Panchal

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