How to Achieve Success in Hiring and Retaining Millennials

millennial manAccording to recent figures released by the US Census Bureau, the roughly 80 million young adults born between 1980 and 2000, collectively known as millennials, have surpassed baby boomers as the largest living generation. By 2020, it is estimated that nearly half of the workforce will be comprised of millennials. How can companies execute successful strategies and tactics to attract and retain this critical demographic?

Millennial Characteristics

The most defining feature of the millennial generation is their high level of familiarity with digital technologies. Millennials are well-networked and very self-expressive. Used to getting their answers online, they work best in a nurturing and collaborative environment that promotes teamwork.

A recent survey conducted by the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School captured some additional millennial characteristics that relate to employment:

  • Millennials prioritized “meaningful work” over high pay.
  • 65% of millennials rated personal development as the most influential factor in their current job.
  • 80% of millennials said they would prefer feedback in real time rather than via traditional performance reviews.
  • 24% said social media policy would be a key factor in accepting a job offer.
  • 71% of millennials would like to work abroad.

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials

To attract and retain Millennials, a strategy that incorporates all or some of the following aspects is important:

Engage with social media. Build an online social media community with personalized and active accounts.

Utilize inbound marketing to sell your brand. Utilize targeted digital content (social media posts, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, etc.) to interest millennials in your company.

Refine your brand. Millennials want to make the world a better place, and are attracted to brands they admire as a consumer.

Create an internship program for students. Millennials who have a positive internship experience become a recruiting asset for you as they share their experiences with other students verbally and on social media.

Offer flexible work options. Millennials will be drawn to organizations that allow them to creatively blend their work and personal life.

Create a customizable benefits program. Allow millennials to choose the performance or signing bonus that best suites them, for example.

Offer training abroad. For global enterprises, a training program abroad helps to satisfy the millennial desire to work in another country.

Offer a quality professional development program. Your training program should provide continuous learning opportunities and utilize diverse delivery methods — classroom instruction, self-directed study, online modules, webinars, coaching, etc.

Have a clearly defined career path. Millennials want rapid career advancement. Let them know where they are going and what steps are required to get there.

Give regular feedback. Companies that are most successful at managing millennials set clear performance targets and deadlines, provide regular feedback, and give out frequent real-time recognition when warranted.

Create an open corporate culture. Whether implementing standing desks, or stocking the office refrigerator with popular drinks, be willing to explore new ideas that keep your workplace lively and interesting, and ultimately more productive.

PriceWaterhouseCooper’s 14th Annual Global CEO Survey on global talent concluded that, “Irrespective of the long-term aims and ambitions of an individual company, the ability to attract and retain millennial talent will be a vital step to achieving it.” Millennials are a talented, dynamic and creative generation, the best of which can be hard to find and even more difficult to keep. Those companies that successfully apply the above suggestions will ride the wave of creativity that these talented professionals bring to reach the highest levels of success in this digital age.

MORE: The Real Essentials for Attracting Millennials, and Keeping Them

Dale Curtis
Dale Curtis is president of Astrix Technology Group, an informatics consulting, professional services and staffing company serving the scientific community for more than 20 years.

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