Millennials are the dominant generation in today’s full-time workforce. They overtook Baby Boomers in numbers in 2018 and aren’t expected to be displaced in size by the younger generation, Gen Z, until at least 2040. Attracting millennials to the workplace is imperative for any employer that wants to establish a talented, sustainable workforce.
The workforce makeup has changed rapidly in the last five years, leaving many companies trying to figure out how to appeal to millennials. What do millennials want? How do they choose where to work? What are some best practices for attracting millennials to the workplace? We’ll cover it all here to help you build a recruiting strategy that appeals to this important age group.
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, to attract and manage millennials in your organization, it’s helpful to understand some of their critical characteristics, so we’ll touch on those for a moment here.
Millennial workforce trends span a variety of topics. Some pertain to their expectations of workplace culture, environment, and flexibility, while others deal with more tangible topics like their desired compensation, benefits, and advancement opportunities.
Workers of this generation sometimes get a bad rap, frequently stereotyped as being lazy, narcissistic, coddled, and less likely to stick with one job for an extended period. Millennials do indeed switch jobs more than their older peers; Gallup called them the “job-hopping generation,” and found that 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year. That’s more than three times the number of non-millennials who say they’ve changed jobs.
On the positive side, millennials are also often regarded as being more aware 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. They’re unattached to organizations and institutions instead of hitching their proverbial wagons to values and movements they care about.
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
Here are nine things you can do to attract millennials to your organization.
1. Promote positive values and an engaged company culture
Millennials want to feel like their efforts and ideas matter. This is why creating a millennial work culture or company culture that includes values younger employees can stand behind is essential. It’s equally important to create an environment that promotes diverse viewpoints, transparency, and openness — meaning an inclusive culture or set up so everyone can participate and follow the same set of rules.
A great way to help your company connect with millennial applicants is to ensure they receive a tour of your office—whether in person or virtual—as part of the application process. Connect them with managers and other employees who can share their experiences about working at your organization to help them visualize what it might be like to work there. If candidates see themselves in a role, they are more likely to accept your employment offer.
2. Offer flexible work opportunities
Flexibility isn’t just a nice-to-have but a must-have for millennial employees. According to Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 75% of millennials currently in a remote or hybrid role say they’d consider looking for a new job if asked to come into the office full-time. 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 they provide more freedom to work around the employee’s interests, hobbies, and family responsibilities, which many of them place a higher value on than their 9-to-5.
3. Improve internal communication
Internal communication is essential for smooth company operations; it gives people the information they need to do their jobs. For millennials, however, communication is about more than just obtaining clear instructions; unlike Boomers, who were a ‘keep your head down and do your job’ type of group, millennials want to feel a sense of connection to their employer and peers that’s deeper than their list of daily to-do’s. In fact, 62% of millennials say their job is central to their identity.
Strong internal communication means leading from the top down and providing transparent company goals and decision updates. You can achieve better communication by having conversations/distributing messaging and doing so on various mediums, like a combination of face-to-face and digital interactions. Also, provide channels by which employees can make their voices heard by company leaders.
4. Offer transparent compensation that reflects the skills you seek
Millennials grew up in a time of economic instability with the recession 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 simply because they’re young. Offer compensation representative of the knowledge, skills, and expertise you desire for each position, regardless of how long the candidate has been in the workforce — 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 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.”
Some companies, like Buffer, have doubled down on becoming leaders in pay transparency, making all salaries for every role in the company publicly available online.
5. Support mentorship and learning opportunities for growth
Millennials place a high value on growth opportunities when considering employers. In a Deloitte survey of more than 7,500 millennial workers worldwide, 71% percent of those likely to leave their jobs in the next two years said they were unhappy with how their leadership skills were being developed.
This is in alignment with Gallup research, which found 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.
6. Showcase how you’ll use their skills
Millennials want to feel like they’re contributing to their full potential. In the same Deloitte survey we mentioned earlier, only 28% of workers in this age group felt that their current organization was making “full use” of their skills, which contributed to feelings of disloyalty. Make it a point during your recruiting process to highlight the particular skills that make a millennial an attractive candidate for your company and how you plan on leveraging them to advance the company’s goals.
This generation also wants to feel like they have the resources and support they need to thrive in a new job. In a Qualtrics survey, millennial employees said they expect employers to offer the following:
- Sufficient training (40%)
- Goals and expectations to be clearly established (31%)
- All the information they need to get the job done (30%)
- Reasonable goals and deadlines (26%)
- Leaders who are demonstrably invested in their success (23%)
Showcasing how you’ll set millennials up for success helps them see where they’re headed, not just in a new role but within the company, which can promote greater longevity.
7. Promote diversity
Millennials want to work at diverse companies. 74% say their organization is more innovative with a culture of inclusion. But what exactly does that mean?
For millennials, the term “diversity” covers everything from racial, gender, and sexual differences to differences of perspective and opinion. They believe pursuing such diversity should be the rule rather than the exception. That should be no surprise since millennials are the most diverse workforce, with 44% of workers in the age group categorized as a minority.
Millennials are more comfortable than some of their older peers with potentially uncomfortable conversations, like those around workplace diversity. They are more likely to embrace the chance to engage on the topic rather than shy away. As an employer, you can appeal to this preference among millennials by showcasing how you promote and advance a culture of inclusion within your company.
8. Empower employees
Millennial employees want to feel empowered to drive change in their companies. Unfortunately, it’s a demand that’s not being met in a meaningful way by many organizations. More than a third of millennials say their employer makes decisions from the top down rather than acting upon employee feedback when deciding on the best course of action.
Employers can capitalize on this unmet need by highlighting how you empower staff. Some examples include giving workers time and location flexibility, involving team members in company decisions, and providing financial or otherwise incentives for strong performance.
Not only does employee empowerment help attract millennials, it leads to stronger engagement, reduced absenteeism, and higher productivity, which are wins no matter which age group you’re focused on.
9. Prioritize corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Corporate social responsibility refers to a business approach that prioritizes initiatives that will have a positive, rather than a detrimental, impact on society. For millennials, CSR plays a big part in choosing where to work.
Climate change, for example, is a huge concern for this age group. Seven in ten millennials say they actively try to minimize their carbon footprint via their choices about family planning, home improvements, purchases, diet, and yes–their choice of employer. They also believe companies are responsible for helping employees learn the skills to succeed in a low-carbon economy.
Other important social issues for this age group include mental health, accessible health care, and equality. For business leaders hoping to build a future-proof workforce, the call to action from millennials is straightforward: put your money where your mouth is on social responsibility and make your efforts to accelerate progress in these areas known.
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 many clients are facing when they meet with us. The professional staffing team at 4 Corner Resources (4CR) is here to help.
Employing proven strategies and best practices, we attract, source, and screen the best candidates for clients across various industries — everything from IT to legal support to healthcare.
Speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable recruiters to see how our professional staffing services can meet your staffing needs.