Millennials otherwise known as Generation Y, have now become the largest group of professionals in the U.S. Labor Force, making up 1/3 of employees. ¹ These are individuals that were born between the years 1981 and 1996. While I was surprised to hear that millennials now have the largest population in the workforce, it does make sense. Generation X and Baby Boomers are retiring and millennials are beginning to take over.
What many employers may not be thinking about though is how this affects recruitment strategies and retention. Traditional tactics that would attract Generation X and Baby Boomers, no longer work for this new generation. This means a change is needed. Companies need to recruit, attract, and retain candidates in a completely different way then what has been done in the past. In this article we will take a look at some of the thing’s millennials value in an employer and how to keep them engaged during the recruitment process.
Attracting Millennials & Knowing What They Want
In order to attract millennials to a company, you need to know what they want and what they value in an employer. What millennials want is completely different than previous generations. Salary and healthcare benefits are important, but there are many other factors that are now coming into play, such as paid time off, job flexibility, working at home, company culture, growth opportunities etc. While these conditions are important for attracting talent, they are also important for retaining talent. Millennials are known for job hopping. They stay at a company a couple of years for experience and then they long for a new exciting opportunity. A study from Gallup revealed that 21% of millennials report changing jobs within the last year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials. When you hire a candidate, you hope they will work out for a long period of time. This is why knowing their wants and needs is extremely important.
Job Flexibility and Working at Home
As hard as it is to believe, many millennials don’t believe in a standard 9-5 job. They think they are more productive working outside of the regular work hours and mixing in breaks along the way. If they get the work done and meet the deadlines, why do they have to work between 9-5? Millennials want flexible hours and a work-life balance. According to a Gallup study, flexibility is one of the highest ranked benefits, ranking higher than student loan or tuition reimbursement. A Gallup study also found that 50% of millennials reported they would change jobs if they were able to work remotely some of the time.
Work flexibility and opportunities to work at home might not be standard at many companies, but statistics suggest these are perks the new work force is looking for. In order to be able to attract good millennial talent all employers will have to consider offering some of these benefits.
Company Culture and Professional Growth
Company culture is also important for millennials. They want to work in a culture they can trust. In fact, millennials are 22 more times likely to work at a company for a long time if they trust the culture, according to research done by Great Place to Work. They also want to be engaged with the company. A Gallup study showed that millennials are more engaged with the employer when managers hold regular meetings and provide feedback. Feedback allows millennials to know what they need to improve upon and what they can do to professionally grow within your company. Millennials are motivated and want to advance their career quickly. Additionally, millennials value training and education. Offering them classes, workshops, seminars, and certifications will help attract and retain them longer.
Overall, when it comes to culture, it will be important for employers to highlight a culture that millennials are after, this includes benefits not related to work. Do you celebrate birthdays? Do you have summer outings? Do you offer free snacks and drinks to your employees in the office? These are all aspects that define a company culture and can help set an employer apart. By focusing on benefits that millennials value, employers will be able to attract and retain more millennial candidates.
Keeping Millennial Candidates Engaged in the Recruiting Process
So far, we dove into understanding what millennials are looking for in an employer. The next challenge is keeping your candidates engaged during the recruitment process. There are several different ways to do this.
Make the Application Process Simple and Mobile Friendly
Millennials value technology and are the most tech savvy generation, so ease of use when filling out an online application is critical. It will deter them away if the application is cumbersome and not user friendly. You also want to make sure your application is mobile friendly. 85% of millennials access the internet from their phones, according to a Gallup survey. Millennials are always on their phones and are always multi-tasking. It’s critical that your job application is mobile friendly so candidates can fill it out no matter where they may be or no matter what device they are using.
Ease of Communication
Ease of communication is also key to keeping millennials engaged. If your company is not already texting candidates, then it’s an absolute must to begin. Millennial candidates want to be able to easily communicate with you and texting is the preferred form of communication. There are also many benefits from the recruiter’s point of view to text candidates. One of these, is a quicker response time. When candidates see a text, they are more likely to respond immediately versus if they received an email with the same information. The average e-mail response time is 90 minutes, but only 90 seconds for a text message. ² This allows you to get your answers quicker and move on to other tasks. Furthermore, texting is a good way to communicate with candidates that are working in an office. Candidates aren’t able to accept phone calls easily during work hours, especially if it is in regards to a job opportunity. A text though is much easier to respond to.
In addition to texting, chat boxes on websites are popular among millennials. Many would rather chat with a robot or person on your website then call the office. This is a good way to attract new candidates you aren’t already working with. If they visit your website and have a question, they can easily ask it by chatting. There are many chat box vendors out there that are inexpensive and can easily install the chat widget on your website.
When it comes to communication, you also want to be responsive and give periodic updates. If they send you a text or email, try to respond within the same day so their question isn’t left hanging. They will lose interest if they aren’t hearing back from you. Additionally, continually provide updates. Even if a candidate didn’t get a job or the next interview, you want to notify them and not leave them wondering. This will help your reputation as a recruiter and strengthen your relationship with the candidate so you can continue to work together.
Stay Active on Social Media
93% of millennial Americans say they use social media to connect with friends and family. ³ This means you want to be in the social space. This is where millennials spend a lot of their time both during the day and at night. As they are scrolling through their newsfeed, you want to be present and grab their attention. To do this, first you want to be sure you are encouraging candidates to follow your company on social media. It’s a great place to post information about your company culture and the services you offer. As a general rule of thumb for social media, post information in a variety of formats such as blog articles, videos, graphics, etc. A mix will keep your content interesting and avoid it from getting stale. The more candidates see your posts and interact with you on social media, the more engaged they will be with your company.
Personalize Their Experience
Everyone feels good when a conversation is about them and personalized to their experiences. Sometimes if you reach out to a candidate on social media or in an email, they can easily tell it’s a message you are sending to a lot of people. Try to find ways to tailor your message to each candidate, especially when you are reaching out to them for the first time. Connect their experiences with the job opportunity in your message. Make the message more about them and how you might be able to help connect them with the next opportunity they are looking for. Talk about the job opportunity in your message, but also ask what they might be looking for. If it’s the first time you are reaching out, you don’t really know what they are looking for. A job might seem like a good fit for them, based on their experiences, but perhaps they are looking to go in a different direction. The more personal, sincere, and conversational you make the message, the more likely they are to respond.
Additionally, sending video emails are also popular. This is a new and unique way to connect with candidates when you are reaching out for the first time or telling them about a job opportunity, they may be a good fit for. In the video message, be sure to say their name and tailor it to them. It’s a great way to standout and show that you care by making a video just for them.
The New Age is Here
Whether companies are already doing many of these things or changes are needed, what we know is that millennials aren’t going anywhere and they will continue to make up the largest population of the workforce for the foreseeable future. Efficiency, hardworking, and reliability are all traits companies want their employees to have in order to produce results and grow as a business. In order to have good talent though, we must adapt to the new workforce. The new age is here!
1. Business News Daily
2. CTIA Study
3. Gallup Study- How Millennials Want To Work and Live
Image 1,2, and 5: Adobe Stock
Image 3 and 4: Adobe Spark