Hiring Millennials – What Millennial Employees Want and Why

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If you work in talent acquisition, you’ve probably come across many strategies for hiring millennials.  It’s become a popular talking point that millennials make up the largest portion of the American workforce — over 1/3 of workers.  By 2025, millennials are expected to account for a whopping 75% of the workforce. They’re quickly becoming the most common age group applying to jobs, which makes catering to their needs crucial for the companies that want to hire them. But understanding, hiring, and managing millennials can require big adjustments.

Who Are Millennials? 

First and foremost, millennials are a generation. Born between Gen X and Gen Z, a millennial is someone whose birthday falls between 1981 to 1996.  The time in which they grew up heavily influenced the culture of millennials. For one, these are people who remember a time before cell phones and the internet, yet were also their first heavy users. They have been raised on a constant stream of information, less and less privacy, and the rise of social media.  As natives of instant communication platforms, millennials are used to high-speed interactions and impersonal forms of communication. All of this has helped shape millennial’s ideals, desires, and even how they operate. Millennials are significantly more likely to problem-solve with the internet, and frequently use real-time messaging and social media at work.

An event that massively impacted millennials was the Great Recession.  They were either just starting their careers or still in school when it hit. For many, it ruined their opportunity for early wealth development, and left them mistrustful. Less than half of millennials trust that businesses share their morals. However, when they do believe that a company is supportive of them, millennials are extremely loyal. Therefore, it is crucial when hiring millennials to understand how to communicate with them, and to build a bond of trust that will keep them engaged with your company.

What Millennials Want

The shared experiences of millennials have caused them to adopt specific preferences and behaviors. While generalizations aren’t always true, there are certain traits that are notably more present in millennials than in prior generations. For example, millennials do change jobs more than other age groups. A recent poll found 1/5 had changed jobs in the last year, and 3/5 were interested in changing. But a lot of that has to do with seeking stability and opportunity in uncertain times. After all, millennials are more likely than any other generation to stick with workplaces they have high trust in.

Millennials work hard, but place a high value on a work-life balance that allows them to prioritize their passions. These often include travel, activism, philanthropy, and experience-based consumerism. Generally, most millennials don’t believe corporations share these values. More than half don’t even believe businesses behave ethically or have goals outside of making profits. That’s a lot of baggage to overcome if you want to gain the trust of millennials.

Topping the list of priorities for millennials are pay and job security, but close seconds are time off, coworkers, and flexibility. If your company can articulate that it aligns with these values, you stand a great chance of attracting employees that will be loyal and hardworking.

Benefits Of Hiring Millennials

Millennials bring a lot of positives to the table, in spite of many negative and false stereotypes. When they feel their needs are met, they are more loyal than other generations. This gives them an element of dependability; if you make them happy, they can be a reliable asset to your company. They work hard for what they want, and that drive can move the entire company forward. One study has demonstrated  that companies which value millennials see a 7-8x gain in agility and innovation.

One of the hallmarks of  millennials is, of course, their tech savviness. They’re more likely to solve problems with the internet and communicate digitally during work. They are also significantly more likely to adopt the latest and greatest technology earlier than others. Millennials  know how to use cutting edge tech to its fullest potential. Paradoxically, millennials are as comfortable with technology as they are skeptical. They understand and have sometimes seen firsthand how technology can be used to deceive, hack and scam. Of particular note are their concerns about cybersecurity. Millennials understand technology well enough that they are deeply aware of its downfalls and weaknesses. 

 An additional benefit to hiring millennials comes in the form of creating more diversity in the workplace. Having employees from many age groups, races, and backgrounds is good for business. Millennials see things differently from other generations, and problems are easier to solve when you have different sets of eyes looking at them. When you hire millennials, you ensure that your company and its culture will be at pace with current trends in technology, media, and social values.

Best Practices for Hiring Millennials 

Knowing who millennials are and what they want is key to developing a hiring strategy that will attract them to your company and retain them. If we keep the temperament and values of millennials in mind, it becomes far easier to develop hiring techniques that will help you build your workforce strong with millennial employees.

Here are some of the things that you can offer millennials to get them on board with your organization.

  • Competitive pay. Simply put, millennials have better access than ever to average salary numbers. They know how they’re being valued. Let them know that you put a premium on their work, and they’ll stay loyal.
  • Job security and advancement opportunities. Millennials want some guarantee that their hard work will get them somewhere. Show them that there is room to grow within your company, and they’ll jump at the opportunity to get a job where they can advance their career.
  • Relaxed job requirements and hiring processes. Millennials may balk at high-pressure interviews or intimidating job requirements. You can find real talent by relaxing these elements that might box applicants out. Let their skills and personality shine during the interview process instead of trying to cull applicants with daunting job descriptions.
  • Transparency and trust. Because of social media, millennials are used to everything happening in the public eye. Consistent feedback and communication leads to loyalty.
  • A positive work environment. Millennials want to be happy about where they work, even if the job itself isn’t all sunshine and flowers. Frequent communication, socializing, and even coaching are all valued.
  • Company Values. More than ever, millennials are conscious of their health, environment and social issues. Seeing a company that is interested in the well-being of employees and their community will go a long way in their book.
  • Flexibility and Work-Life Balance. Millennials value experiences and work-life balance. Being able to work from home or take time off is a pretty consistent ask. You’ll gain loyalty if you give millennials more freedom to work on their terms.
  • Proper tech. Millennials are familiar with the latest technology. Make sure you can offer the best tools, so that they can use them to the fullest effect as only they know how to do.

Millennials are an often misunderstood age group. Older generations often perceive millennials as entitled, lazy, and technology dependent. But these nasty stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. By taking the time to unpack why millennials think and act the way they do, employers can find ways to appeal to this generation of idealistic, tech-savvy, and innovative young workers. The benefits that hiring millennials offers your company are tremendous, and we hope you can use these best practices for hiring them to make your company grow and flourish.

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