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Millennial Recruitment: Winning the War for Talent
Tips on How to Engage Millennials and Make Your Company Stand Out
If you plan on hiring employees anytime soon, excelling at millennial recruitment is a must, since chances are you'll interview someone from that generation.
In fact, you'd be hard-pressed not to consider a millennial for an open position. While there's still debate regarding the birth years included in this generation, with the answer depending on the person being asked, by 2020, experts predict that anywhere from 35-46 percent of workers will be millennials. By either measure, if your Human Resources department is to meet its hiring goals, it has to excel at millennial recruitment. To win the war for talent, what does your business need to do differently? And once hired, how can your management team ensure millennials stick around?
How Do I Get Inside the Head of a Millennial?
Just like every other generation, many generalities surround millennials. While there may be a grain of truth to some of the stereotypes, not all apply. There's no shortage of studies of millennials that uncover recurring themes, such as the desire to work with purpose-driven organizations; the need for a supportive and collaborative environment that presents sufficient challenges and flexibility to tackle complex problems; the need to receive recognition for their efforts; and the visibility of a well-defined career path.
So how do you determine if your business offers an enticing environment?
Engage with millennials already on your payroll. There's no substitute for talking to individuals. Ask your millennial employees to provide an assessment of your workplace. Develop a list of questions to guide your discussions. Alternatively, it might make sense just to ask them whether they would recommend the company to a friend and allow the conversation to evolve from there.
Analyze how your competitors target millennials. Take a closer look at your competitors' hiring practices. What type of picture do they attempt to paint in the minds of millennials? How do they word their job ads? Which social media platforms do they use? Do they dedicate a section of their website to the hiring of millennials? Which concepts could your firm use or improve upon?
Read about millennials. Immerse yourself in the literature covering this generation. Create Google Alerts for phrases related to them and compile a digital library of the studies, articles and papers that capture the millennial mindset. When it comes time to target these job seekers, use the information in the library to guide your efforts.
Revisit your benefits package. Making the workplace more appealing to millennials means revisiting how the business operates. For example, if you don't offer flexible work hours, the ability to telecommute and support social causes, consider doing so because many millennials view each of these as important. Millennials also value social interactions in the workplace. Hosting happy hours, company barbecues or surprise parties can go a long way to making the workplace resemble what this generation expects.
Commit to Change
Regardless of how you use the insights gathered from your existing millennial employees to reinvigorate your hiring efforts, the goal is to provide them with a safe place to share candid feedback. To that end, if the input you get identifies the need for changes, begin the process to transform your business quickly, if you can.
While some of the suggestions you receive may prove impractical, wherever possible, make visible changes — even if they're relatively minor — to show your millennial employees that you listened and took note of their feedback. By developing a greater understanding of how the millennial generation views your company and taking action to improve the work environment based on their feedback, you'll be in a stronger position to perfect your recruiting message to attract and engage top talent.
If your company has yet to hire millennials, now is the time revisit how your business operates and how it might appear through their the eyes. Again, while stereotypes don't apply to everyone, the consistent themes that appear in articles and reports provide a window into how the generation thinks and likes to interact with potential employers.
For example, numerous studies note that millennials spend a large amount of time on social media, including when they're looking for jobs and learning about prospective employers. Knowing millennials spend time online is not enough. To reach them, we must understand which platforms win the war for millennial attention.
According to data from the Pew Research Center, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter attract Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 more than any other age group. Interestingly, while 78 percent of Snapchat users fall between the ages of 18 to 24, only 54 percent of those ages 25 to 29 use Snapchat. Nonetheless, YouTube dominates the millennial age group with a staggering 94 percent of those ages 18 to 24 using the platform.
LinkedIn remains popular with college graduates and those who come from high-income households. The data also shows that millennials use a median of four social media platforms. Every older generation uses fewer social media platforms, with 30- to 49-year-olds using three, and 50- to 64-year-olds using two.
With millennials spending a vast amount of time on specific platforms, where and how your company appears online and whether your recruitment team plays a proactive role in engaging with job candidates online could make a difference in encouraging millennials to consider applying for a position.
When it comes time to engage with job candidates, instead of resorting to emails and phone calls, your HR department should experiment with texting and engagement via social media. It's never too early to signal to a millennial your company's willingness to engage with members of that generation on their terms.
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