In 2016, millennials (a generation usually defined by those born between 1981 and 1996) became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.
In the years to come, the members of this generation will be the ones to eventually assume the managerial reins of companies the world over.
To ensure the security of your company’s future in light of the retiring Baby Boomer generation, it’s essential to court millennial job seekers.
But what exactly attracts millennials to a job? What are millennials seeking in their ideal position?
It can be argued that millennials care more about work-life balance than a desirable salary. With the lightning-fast advancement of technology in recent years, and the ability for distributed teams to communicate via multiple channels such as Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and more, the traditional 9-5 work day doesn’t always resonate with the millennial job seeker.
Millennials are willing and ready to deliver results, but they don’t want to do so at the cost of their mental health—an important priority, considering depression is on the rise among millennials. It’s no wonder that this generation gravitates to workplaces that honour healthy work-life balances.
How to introduce flexible workstyles in your office: remote work (telecommuting from a home office or elsewhere) is becoming increasingly popular these days. As long as your millennial employees are getting their work done, there’s no reason to force them into a 9-5 mould. If full telecommuting isn’t possible, consider offering the option for 1-3 days out of the week to be worked at home, or introduce half days where an employee comes in for a few hours and then continues their work at home.
Opportunities for Growth
Millennials care about growth. Work for the sake of work—especially tedious grunt work that doesn’t seem to have any underlying value—is the quickest way to repel millennial talent away from your office.
Millennials need to be mentally stimulated, challenged, and engaged in the workplace. They want to feel as if they’re evolving and getting somewhere, instead of remaining stagnant in a routine.
“Professional development opportunities are key to attracting quality millennial talent. Millennials need to be challenged and nurtured, and by showing you are investing in their talents and growth, you’re allowing some of the best and most growth-driven millennials know that you aren’t just looking for a warm body to fill a role, you’re looking for someone to grow WITH the company.” –Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator
Consider mentorship programs between senior management and millennials who are interested in growing within the company ranks. Offer training programs, continuing education opportunities, and admission to industry-specific conferences where your employees can network and learn and gain new skills. Growth-oriented millennials thrive on opportunities to learn, and the more opportunities you give them, the more likely you’ll retain them long-term.
Competitive Salaries and Benefits
Many millennials grew up watching their parents struggle financially despite putting in decades of hard work. With crippling student loan debts and soaring expenses burdening them, millennials aren’t interested in giving up a lifetime of work before they start to see the financial payoff. They want competitive salaries and benefits right off the bat.
“I’d say some of the most significant trends I’ve seen are that millennial employees, or simply younger employees in general, want a higher salary and better benefits immediately,” says Lou DeVoto, founding partner of Rossetti & DeVoto. “Now this isn’t always the case, but I think there is less of an acceptance of the apprenticeship phase now than there used to be.”
Low-ball offers aren’t going to attract millennial workers. But it’s not just because the bills at home need to be paid. Millennials see salaries as the means by which they can live a more fulfilling life. Put another way, it’s not so much the money, but the experiences that the money can reward them with.
Which is why impressive benefits are also a magnet when it comes to attracting millennial job seekers. These benefits ideally should be ones that add to the millennial’s work-life balance or career advancement. Consider creative perks such as: a monthly allowance for a gym or yoga studio membership, internet and/or phone bill subsidies, continuing education subsidies, additional annual leave, free meals, and regular team-building activities and functions—just to name a few.
A Sense of Purpose
Two things are generally understood about millennials: they value experiences over possessions, and they want to feel passion for the work that they do. That second truth can be summed up as so: millennials care more about purpose than money. If a position doesn’t fulfil them and make them feel as if they’re doing significant, meaningful work, they either will pass on it altogether, or they won’t stay very long in the position if they do accept.
Purpose is essential for any employee, but that’s especially the case for millennials. This generation in particular, more than any other, craves making a positive impact in the world.
Ensuring that your workplace has a meaningful vision that’s the driving force for all you do is absolutely essential if you wish to attract millennials to your workforce. Be clear on how your company plays a role in creating positive change in the world. Help your millennial employees make the connection between the work they do and the difference it makes in the lives of others. If they feel that their role contributes to a bigger picture that’s tied to something meaningful and impactful, they’ll find the work rewarding and stay for the long-run.
Is the future of your company secure? Millennials already make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. It won’t be long before this is true in every workforce globally. With Baby Boomers retiring, the sustainability of your company depends on attracting and retaining the next generation, and using the strategies above, you’ll make your workplace more attractive to the millennial job seeker.