For years, the hot topic has been Millennials in the workforce, with many having mixed reviews and concerns. Millennials (Gen Y) have a lot to offer and many of us work with them everyday. Your company wants to recruit top talent and Millennials are quickly comprising the majority of the workforce, so the real question is “How do we get the best Millennial for the job?” The answer is pretty simple – learn what they value and recruit millennials based on those values. You may be surprised to find out many of their values are the same as previous generations, just expressed in different ways. However, let’s start by understanding the background of Millennials.
Back to Basics with Gen Y
Before you can understand a potential candidate’s values, you need to know their background. Here are the main characteristics of millennials:
- Millennials were born anywhere between 1980 and 2000.
- Growing up with technology, many Millennials feel it is a seamless part of their life and adopt new tech easily. This means the integration of new technology may have a faster learning curve than other generational cohorts.
- Major events that Millennials have experienced include the the creation of social media, revival of the Women’s Movement, and increasing diversity in the U.S.
The Urban Legend of Millennials
Let’s debunk a few myths about Millennials to foster a sense of understanding in the recruitment process. Here are 5 urban legends about Millennials that we desire to challenge:
- Where’s My Participation Ribbon? – Millennials are often categorized as having a more hands-on parenting experience in their childhood compared to other generations.The idea of having a childhood filled with participation ribbons, unwarranted praise from guardians and helicopter parents has been somewhat exaggerated.This misconception is that Millennials desire constant praise and recognition for doing the bare minimum has been projected by some in the workplace and recruitment horror stories have not helped.
- I Just Want the World – Have you heard the story of the 20 something CEO? A false hallmark of Millennials is that they want to walk into the room and become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. While this may be true for some, many Millennials’ desire to have a strong voice in collaboration and willingness to learn, which can be misconstrued as arrogance and self entitlement.
- Sloth is the New Standard – Ever worked with a Millennial that is ready to clock out at 5, doesn’t meet deadlines, and produces sub-par work? Unfortunately, those Millennials are giving a bad name to the others who want to excel. The truth is that sloth is not a generational marker. In fact, many Millennials grew up seeing their older family members struggle to find employment during the 2007- 2009 recession and understand the importance of employment.
- High Turnover Rate – Many believe Millennials will stay at a job for less than a year before moving on to their next job. Some predict Gen Y will have the highest amount of jobs in their lifetimes compared to earlier generations. However, the opposite appears to be true as many Gen Xers switched jobs at the same rate as Millennials at their age. Some employers believe job turnover is a sign that they should not invest in developing Millennials. This counterproductive measure is often linked to why Millennials are deciding to end their tenure at some companies.
- What Have You Done for Me Lately? – Millennials desire to see the fruits of their labor immediately, otherwise it’s not worth it, right? Not exactly. Instant gratification can be highly attributed to Millennials growing up in the digital age, where you can know almost anything in seconds. However, many individuals realize that some of the most satisfying and impactful projects come from a process that can take months or years.
9 Millennial Values to Know
Now that we’ve debunked some myths, let’s get to what’s important: Values. Before employers make assumptions about candidates, it’s important to understand their values based on their generational and personal experiences. It’s imperative your company reflects the values of candidates, otherwise this can hinder from gaining top talent.
- Personal Time – While many Millennials have the drive to succeed, many understand when it’s time to pack it up for the day and take time for themselves. Personal care and time off is important to Millennials, and can promote a happier and efficient work environment. When evaluating prospective employers, a consideration for many Millennials is flexibility, work from home days and paid time off. Many Millennials saw the burdens that long work days put on their Baby Boomer and Gen X family members in the pursuit of success. This changed their idea of work-life balance. Additionally, more research over the past decades shows personal time has increasingly been linked to mental health.
- Who Are You? – The days of a “professional persona” are slowly disintegrating with Gen Y. That’s not to say that Millennials don’t appreciate workplace etiquette, however, they yearn to know their peers for more than their work. The desire for Millennial employees to know their peers and management “as people” is becoming increasingly popular. They want insight into who you are so they can find common ground with you and foster a better workplace relationship.
- Tell Me What’s On Your Mind – Millennials value feedback from management so they can adjust their work to fit the needs of the company. A quarterly eval is no longer sufficient, but rather weekly check ins to talk about the progress of their work and connect with management on a deeper level.
- The Sky’s the Limit– Like any other employee, expect a lot from Millennials. They may have entry-level experience, but that doesn’t mean they cannot produce consistent, quality work. Communicating that you have high expectations of this generation can provide them with the motivation and inspiration they need in the workplace. Also, it can help build a multi-generational mentor-mentee relationship.
- Shark Tank – Millennials want a company to invest in them. This means career development, workshops, advising and other opportunities. Additionally, workshops and other team building relationships can help create a more cohesive workplace environment and bonding amongst employees of different generations. Not only does this communicate you care about their growth and commitment, but that you desire to support them and create a healthy relationship.
- The Times They are A-Changin’ – Who likes complacency? Certainly not Millennials. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality is fading away and innovation is leading the way. Millennials desire to create lasting improvements in their workplace that can help promote transparency, equality, unconventional thinking and non-traditional diversity. Thinking outside the box to make changes in the workplace that reflect changes in the world will increase as more Millennials enter the workforce.
- Be the Change – If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. This saying rings true for many Millennials because they understand the importance of promoting social change and supporting worthwhile causes. This means working with a company with values or SMART goals, that establishes and executes corporate responsibility. Art Papas, the CEO of Bullhorn CRM, understands the value of embodying company values. If your company does not walk the walk, you may see many Millennials walking right out of your offices.
- Money Can’t Buy Happiness – Millennials are more apt to stay with a company that is growing and has a purpose than those who offer them higher wages. It is not that money isn’t a factor in their employment decision, it’s just not the only factor.
- Oh, the Place You’ll Go – As the times change, some workplace behaviors do too. Many people no longer have a 40 year tenure at a company. So it’s important to provide opportunities to your employees to develop skills that they can apply to different industries and fields.
Tips to Gain Millennial Engagement
Now that you know some of their values, how will you get this top talent. Here are a few tips to getting Gen Y talent down to a science.
- Content Curation – Highlight your company on social media. Display team members working on projects they love and company events, showcasing employees at all experience levels. It is important to be genuine and not perpetuate a false representation of your company. Candidates will quickly learn that you are not being sincere, and will let others know too.
- Peer Reviews – Promoting a positive workplace and recruitment experience will go a long way. Sites like Glassdoor and other review sites are increasingly aiding people in their job search. It’s important to ensure candidates are respected for their time and experience whether or not they are chosen.
- Feedback – Make sure you are continuously updating candidates throughout the recruitment process. This doesn’t mean emailing the candidate everyday, but giving them updates as you move on to the next stages of the interviewing process is helpful as they continue their job search. Just as you are spending time working with them, they are taking time off of work and dedicating hours to the process. One of the biggest mistakes is not replying to candidates at all. Ultimately, giving your candidates constructive and specific feedback helps them positively further their job search and can mean the difference between a positive and negative review.
As your company continues into its recruitment efforts, all individuals, regardless of their age, should be treated equally. However, tweaking the recruitment process to each candidate’s needs can make them fall in love with your company, whether or not they are selected.