The makeup of the modern multigenerational workforce is evolving. Employees of the “baby boomer” generation — people born between 1946 and 1964 — are starting to retire, and more Generation Y workers (called “millennials”) — those born between 1980 and 1995 — are entering the workforce and are anticipated to outnumber their baby boomer colleagues this year. This is why attracting millennials to the workplace is imperative for employers seeking to grow their workforce.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the baby boomer generation is expected to decrease 9% by 2020. Employees of the Generation X workforce — those born between 1965 and 1979 — are expected to drop from 21% to 20% in that same amount of time. These downward trends differ from millennials in the workplace statistics, which show an expected increase from 45% to 50% by 2020.
This significant change in the workforce leaves many employers trying to figure out how to appeal to millennials. But, what do millennials want? And what are some recommended best practices for attracting millennials to the workplace?
Characteristics of Millennials in the Workplace
We’ve addressed some of the differences between millennials and baby boomers in the workplace in a previous article. However, we’ll start by identifying some critical characteristics of millennials that can help employers with attracting and managing millennials in the workplace.
Workers of this generation are frequently viewed as being lazy, narcissistic, coddled, and less likely to stick with one job for an extended period. Alternatively, they also are often regarded as being more cognizant of diversity in the workplace, being inspired by an organization’s values, and having fresher perspectives and greater technical skills than previous generations. After all, millennials are digital natives — they grew up using portable devices, computers, and social media that either didn’t exist or weren’t available to the general public in previous generations.
So, the question remains about how to attract millennials to your business — what can you do as a small to midsize business (SMB) manager or human resources expert to get the younger generation through your doors?
Tips for Attracting Millennials to the Workplace
Millennial workforce trends span a variety of topics. Some, in particular, relate to their expectations of workplace culture and environment, flexibility, the ability to engage in meaningful work, and being able to receive competitive employee benefits.
1. Promote Positive Values and an Engaged Company Culture
Millennials want to feel like their efforts and ideas matter. This is why it is essential to create a millennial work culture or company culture that includes values employees can stand behind. It’s equally important to create an environment that promotes diverse viewpoints, transparency, and openness — meaning a culture that is inclusive or set up in a way in which everyone can participate and follows the same set of rules.
According to a LinkedIn article, another great way to help your company connect with millennial applicants is to give them a tour of your office. Help them connect with managers and other employees who can share their experiences about working at your organization. If a candidate sees themselves in a role, they are more likely to accept your employment offer.
2. Offer Flexible Work Opportunities
One of the most effective methods of attracting millennials to the workplace is integrating flexibility into business practices and employee benefits. Nonmonetary benefits such as flexible hours and remote work opportunities appeal to this generation of candidates because the benefits provide more freedom to work around the employees’ interests, hobbies, and family responsibilities.
3. Offer Transparent Compensation That Reflects the Skills You Seek
Millennials grew up in a time of economic instability with the depression that hit in the mid-2000s. As such, many crave financial security. If you’re looking for someone with a lot of technical skills or expertise, don’t shortchange millennials merely because they are young. Offer compensation that is representative of the level of knowledge, skills, and expertise you desire for each position — and be transparent about it.
According to Professor David Burkus at Oral Roberts University, pay transparency is vital to many millennials:
“Pay transparency -- sharing salaries openly across a company -- makes for a better workplace for both the employee and for the organization. When people don't know how their pay compares to their peers', they're more likely to feel underpaid and maybe even discriminated against.”
4. Support Mentorship and Learning Opportunities for Growth
The previously-cited LinkedIn article indicates that millennials place a high value on growth opportunities when considering employers. The research states that 42% of the surveyed millennials accepted a new position because the company offered more significant opportunities for advancement than a competitor or their previous job.
This is in alignment with Gallup research, which states that learning and growth opportunities strongly appeal to millennials when they apply for jobs:
“Millennials care deeply about their development when looking for jobs and -- naturally -- in their current roles. An impressive 87% of millennials rate ‘professional or career growth and development opportunities’ as important to them in a job -- far more than the 69% of non-millennials who say the same.”
To enhance your existing growth opportunities, make training available 24/7/365. With the proliferation of online training resources, businesses large and small can provide access to vast and comprehensive educational resources.
Work with a Recruiting Firm That Understands Millennials
Is attracting millennials to the workplace something your business struggles with regularly? You’re not alone. This is a challenge that many clients face when they come to us for help. The professional staffing team at 4 Corner Resources (4CR) is here to help.
Speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable recruiters to see how our professional staffing services can meet your staffing needs.