The millennial generation is now the largest population on the planet, according to Pew Research. With more than 74.5 million individuals aged 18-35, millennials recently surpassed the Baby Boomers as the predominant generation alive today. This means millennials are quickly becoming the key drivers of productivity in the workforce—and as they flood the market, businesses large and small need to be diligent about recruiting them.
You can't use traditional tools and techniques to attract this tech-savvy, work-life balance-driven, altruistic generation, and with the war for talent becoming more heated every day, you also can't afford to lose them. Luckily, there are some smart techniques you can use to not only attract this generation to your workplace, but also keep them engaged.
1) Meet Them Where They Are
The days of job fairs rarely apply to anyone outside of business school candidates, and even those days are numbered. The best candidates aren't likely to stand in line with paper resumes—they search for new opportunities online and on mobile, or at events specifically designed around innovation and disruption.
This is where you need to get creative. Firms like Deloitte have gotten savvy by attending hack-a-thons to recruit top tech talent with resounding success. Similarly, case study competitions are smart places to find business strategists. And, last but not least, mobile phones are the key to a whole slew of candidates: You should step outside the confines of buildings and think virtually to capture the attention of this online-first, virtual workforce.
2) Use Social Media to Tell the Story of Your Company
This generation is driven by storytelling, and that means your online presence must be a transparent look into your company's mission, products, values, culture and future plans. From a 360-degree office view to quick video profiles of your employees, strong social media branding and messaging will help connect you to millennial candidates. Your website, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook—all of these platforms should tell a cohesive story about what it's like to work for you.
3) Supplement Annual Performance Reviews
Annual reviews aren't appealing to a generation that prefers immediate constructive criticism and praise. Firms like Adobe, Accenture and Deloitte have all abolished this time-tested practice in exchange for project- and experience-based performance management with managers giving consistent, real-time feedback as more of a mentor or coach.
4) Communicate Value and Meaning
Millennials and their successors, Generation Z, are driven by their ability to make an impact. They've grown up believing they can change the world, and employers should harness this aspect of their personality by showing them the real-time results of their efforts. Engage them in socially-conscious and altruistic corporate pursuits, and show how these actions impact both the customer and the community.
5) Think Outside of the Paycheck
While young professionals are driven by what's in it for them (aren't we all?), it's the total compensation package that will bring them on board. A 2015 Fortune ranking of the Best Places to Work for Millennials found that companies on the list were more likely to offer flextime scheduling (76 vs. 63 percent for other companies), telecommuting options (82 vs. 74 percent), paid sabbaticals (15 vs. 11 percent) and paid volunteer days (46 vs. 39 percent). By thinking about "compensation" beyond salary, you can find creative ways to engage younger employees.
Photo: Creative Commons
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