Hiring Millennials: How to Find, Engage and Retain (Part III of Series)

Many companies are experiencing difficulty bringing the right Millennials on board and keeping them happy for the long-haul. According to a recent survey from Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding, more than 50% of surveyed Gen X hiring managers said that they’re struggling to find and retain millennial talent. With the ever growing increase of millennials in the workforce, they will make up about 40% of it within the next 5 years according U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

HOW TO FIND THEM

  • Use Social Media - If you want to find the right Millennial, think like a Millennial. Typically, the most desirable Millennial candidates are passive ones. In order to engage with passive candidates (as well as recent grads), it’s important to establish a credible social media presence. Millennials turn to LinkedIn, Glass Door, Twitter, Facebook and even SnapChat for information and insight about your company --  your employment brand.  Use it to find them, but make it easy to find you as well! Develop content and provide information that suits these outlets. Ensure the portrayal of your company culture resonates – use videos, photos, stories. Showcase personality!  Communication about your solid company culture is critical to finding the attracting the right employees, but especially those in the millennial generation.
  • Leverage Millennial Employees’ Networks – Millennials are relationship-driven.  They tend to trust their friends and highly value their opinions.  Make it easy for your existing millennial employees to spread the word and bring their friends to you.
  • Be Mobile - 89% of job seekers will use a mobile device to search for work within the next year.  Make sure your site is mobile friendly.  Be sure your employment branding is highlighted through mobile sites and make it easy for candidates to apply and upload information.

 

HOW TO ENGAGE THEM

  • Create Open and Honest Dialogue- Find out what their career aspirations and goals are from the very first conversation. Also ask what does not interest them. By creating friendly and open dialogue from the beginning (remember they crave instant gratification), you start to build a relationship quickly and helps put them in their comfort zone.  If you don’t build trust from the beginning, they will likely check out quickly. Pay attention to what they have to say and engage with them.  Give them a forum to talk about their career aspirations both in the short term as well as down the road. 
  • Focus on Work-Life Balance- Millennials care more about a work-life balance more than other generations. They value family and time with friends and doing things they enjoy outside of work. Boomers and Gen X typically didn’t expect a balance until they were better established in their careers, if at all. They will work hard, but want to be assured there is room in their life for things other than their career. 
  • Be Transparent- Millennials value transparency. If there is information available about what’s going on during the hiring process, always share it with the millennial candidate. They value being kept informed, even if it isn’t news they want to hear. Millennials often express frustration about the complexity of the hiring process. Keeping them updated can help to minimize this frustration.
  • Work fast – Things are moving at the speed of light.  In a competitive job market, it is critical across the board to have a solid recruiting process that moves efficiently.  Millennials have less patience and will move on if things don’t appear to be moving forward.  Of course, you should not feel forced into a quick decision, so design your process to enable continuous communication and steps that happen over a relatively short period of time.  Set expectations from the beginning and feel free to remind candidates of them. 

 

HOW TO RETAIN THEM

  • Empower Millennials- Listen to what’s between the lines and embrace the learning curve with millennial employees.  They are often still discovering their talents and what they’re passionate about. Be sure you position their job as meaningful and valuable work to help fuel their passion.  Empowering Millennials may mean letting them try new things which can encourage them to stick around longer. Make it clear to them that they have time to grow as well – give them timeframes for learning curves and lay out specific goals. Don’t forget – this generation was brought up in the “everyone gets a trophy” era, so positive feedback is key.  Whether you agree or not, if you are trying to bring someone in, retain them, and keep them engaged in producing great work, this is a key element. Place value on their learning and provide them the resources to grow. Let them know you’re excited for them to be a part of the team for the long-term.
  • Guidance and Mentoring- Millennials want a “Go-To”.  Sometimes it’s just for a sounding board, sometimes they seek a confidence boost and sometimes they just want someone to pay attention to them.  If you don’t already have one, think about establishing a mentor program.  According to a recent survey of millennial professionals conducted by Robert Half International and Yahoo!, 60% of millennials want to hear from the managers at least once a day.  That may be a lot to swallow for an overextended manager, so potentially make life easier by providing an additional resource and outlet through mentors. Not only can it help ease the load off managers a bit, but this can aid in the development of more junior people as leaders in the organization.

 Although we have focused here on how to bringing Millennials into your company, don’t lose sight of your interview and selection process. You must still hold tight to hiring a Millennial who has the skills you desire (or the aptitude to be trained), fits your culture and will be a positive influence on your environment.