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Who Are Millennials?
Also known as Generation Y, these individuals were born between the years 1980 and 1996. According to Family Search, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to genealogy, the term millennial refers to being born near the end of the calendar millennium.
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Characteristics of Millennials
It’s important to know how world events shape new generations. Forbes details “Eight Characteristics of Millennials That Support Sustainable Development Goals.” In addition to these characteristics, let’s focus on two key differences between millennials and other generations.
- Technological literacy. Writing for the Pew Research Center, Michael Dimcock stated, “Technology, in particular the rapid evolution of how people communicate and interact, is another generation-shaping consideration. Baby boomers grew up as television expanded dramatically, changing their lifestyles and connection to the world in fundamental ways. Generation X grew up as the computer revolution was taking hold, and millennials came of age during the internet explosion.” The advances in technology during impressionable years make this generation comfortable and confident around computers and mobile devices.
- Desire for feedback. Part of millennials’ technological literacy is the feeling of being constantly connected to work, friends, or family. This near-endless connection creates a desire for near-constant feedback. Some examples include notifications from social media platforms and the ability to stream live television from mobile devices or text and email communication at any hour of the day. The conditioning of continual feedback cascades into the workplace as millennial employees desire an increase in the quantity and speed of updates.
Why Is Hiring Millennials Important?
Adapting a company to any new population or cultural norm can be challenging. Hiring millennials can bring many changes to a business, but there are as many benefits.
- Quantity of workers and sustainability. Millennials will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. As baby boomers and Generation Xers begin to exit the labor force, companies will depend on millennials to keep their operations going.
- Technological prowess. As millennials continue to enter the workforce, they bring a deeper understanding of technology with them. This familiarity allows this generation to learn electronic systems quicker, develop more efficient workflows, and obtain knowledge with greater ease.
- More balanced employees. In addition to technology progression, millennials are bringing an emphasis on work-life balance, employee benefits, and perks. Updating PTO policies to include higher rates, adding wellness benefits like gym memberships, and enacting paid VTO ( volunteer time off) are becoming more common. Companies enact these changes to remain competitive in recruiting efforts.
Strategies for Hiring Millennials
Recruit in New Places
With the increase of digital recruiting platforms, companies need to look in new places for employee candidates. Gone are the days of putting an ad in the newspaper and hoping people see it; instead, there are a wide variety of online platforms to use. Popular job boards include Indeed and ZipRecruiter. Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook have job-board elements and networking. There has even been a rise in websites like Glassdoor, which invite employees to review their company and the positions they have held.
With the growing complexities of online recruiting, companies are hiring full-time recruiters to be more active in initiating conversations with potential candidates. Smaller companies use ATS (applicant tracking system) options that automatically post a job post to many sites at once, like Eddy Hire.
Create a Choice Employer Brand
While online recruiting is rising, the tried and true method of being a great employer never goes out of style. By investing in employee retention via competitive wages, effective management, and a unique service or product, employees naturally share their satisfaction with their employer. Employees share with family and friends who are looking for work or may share an electronic post about open positions. Many companies offer a referral incentive to current employees who bring new employees to help answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Consider Hybrid Workplace Opportunities
Another advantage to millennials’ technological literacy is their comfort in working remotely. After companies were forced to adapt to COVID-19 precautions, many millennials expect to have a remote or hybrid option for their work. This allows for employees to work from a different state, another city, or while on vacation, providing greater flexibility.
Many steps need to be taken to prepare to offer hybrid or remote setups, such as knowing the labor laws for employees in different states, what and how technology will be provided to employees, how to ensure the security of data, and managing productivity.
Millennials vs Generation Z: Differences in Recruiting
Generation Z (Gen Z) consists of those born between 1997 and 2012, which makes them the generation right after millennials. While there are definitely similarities between the two generations, there are also some key differences, so you’ll want to vary your recruiting strategy accordingly. Let’s review some of these differences.
- There are fewer members of Gen Z in the workforce. Because Generation Z includes people born in or around 2012, many of its members are still children. That means that there are fewer of them in the workforce. If you’re looking to target Gen Z workers, you’ll have to get specific with your recruiting strategies. Millennials are more plentiful, so you’re probably going to hire more of them.
- They use social media differently. Millennials are more likely to use professional networks (like LinkedIn) in their job hunt. Generation Z, the first “digital native” generation, doesn’t distinguish between their personal and professional lives as much when it comes to social media. Gen Z is also more prone to use video platforms.
- Their experiences with technology are different. While both millennials and Gen Z are tech-savvy, Gen Z values a quick, mobile-first approach more. Millennials are often more patient with longer application processes, and they generally respond well to phone and email communication. That’s no excuse to use outdated processes, but it’s something recruiters can keep in mind.
- They look for jobs in different places. The Yello Recruiting Study found that for both Gen Z and millennials, employee referrals are their preferred way of finding a job. Their second most valued job-hunting methods differ though. Millennials rely more on job boards, and Gen Z use hiring events.
- They value different things. The study cited above also found that Gen Z and millennials share their two most-valued benefits in common: salary and work-life balance. After that, millennials tend to value career growth opportunities, and Gen Z cares most about the job duties and responsibilities they have.
Business Characteristics You Need to Hire and Retain Millennials
HR professionals and small business owners can take action to create a workplace culture where people want to work; that is, keep the great people you have and attract new millennial talent that’s on the move.
Here are some organizational characteristics that attract millennials.
Openness to New Ideas
One principle is for teams and business leaders to be open to new ideas. This generation brings suggestions and methods that current businesses may not know or be used to. Proposals can include changes to the dress code, new product ideas, and insights on retaining current customers or attracting new ones.
Millennials Bring Millennials
Potential employees want to feel like they belong, and they look for people like themselves during recruiting and interviewing. Seeing fellow millennials on the company website, during a tour, or in a virtual meet-up may make millennial candidates more apt to join your company.
Be OK With Job Hopping
- In a given year, about 20% of millennials reported changing jobs—more than three times that of any other generation.
- Only half of millennials surveyed said they planned to be at their current job next year.
- 60% of millennials said that they’re open to new job opportunities.
If you’re planning to hire millennials, you need to understand that job hopping is going to happen. That might mean that you hire somebody who leaves your company quickly, or it could mean that you interview a candidate with a resume that screams “job hopper.” So what can you do?
Rather than refusing to ever hire a job hopper, employers should instead focus on what they can control: their own workplace culture and compensation. Are you offering competitive pay? Great benefits? Are you providing opportunities for employees to develop and advance in their careers? If so, it’s more likely that the millennials you hire will want to stay with your company in the foreseeable future. And if they hop, it’s not the end of the world.
A Larger Purpose
While it’s true that millennials care about salary (we all have to make a living) they also care about the work they’re doing. In order to feel fulfilled, they need to know they’re making an impact. This might take the form of a financial impact, where the millennial is shown how their efforts impact the success of the business. Or it could be a larger impact, something that makes the world or community a better place. If you want millennials to be all-in, make it clear why their actions matter.
Career Growth Opportunities
This comes back to the previous point about job hopping. If employees don’t feel invested in the company, they don’t have much motivation for staying. To help boost engagement, offer development opportunities to your people. This could take a variety of forms—the following list contains just a few examples of ways you can invest in millennial employees’ learning and development.
- Help them pay for tuition
- Help them pay for industry-specific certifications
- Give them access to online learning platforms
- Send them to conferences and seminars
- Host frequent lunch and learns
Foster a Culture That Supports Employee Well-Being
Well-being is a critical component of the overall employee experience. Supporting employee well-being includes providing mental health and physical health resources, creating a culture of psychological safety, and promoting financial well-being.
“Building a culture of psychological safety and support with intention is the best attraction and recruitment strategy there is. Today’s workers want to work for organizations that support them and support causes that are important to them. They are less likely to tolerate a toxic ‘status quo’ and will leave an employer that is not fostering an environment of safety.” — Ruthann Weeks, HR professional
Fostering a workplace culture that supports these facets will not only boost overall well-being, but also productivity, engagement, and the feeling of belonging at work. These are all key drivers of a great workplace culture—one that talent will be attracted to and will motivate them to stay.
Also, remember that financial well-being starts with paying employees a fair, equitable, living wage. You can also provide services that help employees manage their finances, which can include retirement planning but also managing their debt, budgeting, and so on.
Cultivate Strong Leaders
Leaders, especially managers, play a major role in employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Strong leaders are also a magnet for talent. Top talent wants to work for people who will help them grow in their career, and when your best employees tell their friends, family, and even strangers on the internet about how great their managers are, like-minded (and motivated!) people will want to come work for that manager, too.
Hiring millennials can be time-consuming. Eddy Hire can save you time and help you cast a wider net to attract more candidates. Find out more about how Eddy can help!
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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Hiring Millenials
Austin became the HR Manager at Nursa in 2022 where he is building a HR department in the company’s second year of operation. Before that he worked as an HR Director at Discovery Connections and an Account Manager for a Section 125 benefits and COBRA administrator. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science in 2019 and from Southern Utah University with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership in 2021. At the end of 2021, he became certified with SHRM-CP.
Originally from Oklahoma, Austin enjoys trying new foods in new places he travels to, watching college football, and snowboarding at the local resorts in Utah. He has been married to his wife since 2019 and owns a cockapoo named Hershey.