I recently read that Millennials are projected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.
Millennials are defined as individuals born between the period of 1980 – 1995. They have recently joined the workforce, or will be joining in the next few years and they have different expectations about their working environment than previous generations.
The challenge for employers is to design a workplace that meshes well with existing employees, but that also caters to the unique needs of Millennials. With only 5 years before half of the global workforce is made up of Millennials it is critical that you know how to attract and retain this unique group.
As a Millennial working in the field of recruitment and retention, I often think about what certain organizations do, and what others could be doing to attract and retain the new generation of talent entering the workforce. Organizations who don’t shift their culture and strategies to make their workplace attractive to Millennials may find themselves having difficulty attracting and retaining such employees to their organization.
Here are some things to consider when developing your attraction and retention strategies for Millennials:
1. Work-life balance
Studies have shown that Millennials value work-life balance more than any other generation.
They don’t want their work to be their sole priority (even if there is promise of substantial compensation later). Millennials are not convinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life. This may be because Millennials grew up and were raised by our described “workaholic boomer parents” who lacked an element of work-life balance.
It is important for organizations to recognize that the Millennial generation is looking for an organization that embraces and values employees lives outside of work. There are many different ways organizations can achieve this.
For example, providing flexible working hours, or allowing employees to work alternating 4 day work weeks are benefits that Millennials will find very attractive.
2. Listen to what millennials have to say
Millennials are a generation that want their voices to be heard and want their opinions to count. They want to make a difference and want to work for managers and companies who value their opinion.
Millennials grew up with so-called “helicopter” parents who brought us up with the notion that everyone has a valid opinion and deserves to be taken seriously, or at least be heard. It is important for organizations to engage Millennials by asking for their opinions or thoughts on projects or decisions. They don’t necessarily expect their thoughts or opinions to be the final decision, but will appreciate the opportunity to have expressed their ideas.
3. Create an open, inclusive environment
Millennials want to work for organizations and leaders that are open, transparent and inclusive with their employees. Millennials grew up with diversity and inclusiveness amongst their peer group, and expect the same from their work environment.
They want leaders that collaborate with their team, and are transparent with them about the goals of a certain project, or the direction the organization is going. Millennials want to work for an organization that they believe in and can identify with. By creating an environment that is transparent and inclusive, Millennials will be able to identify with the organization and will do all they can to help the organization achieve its goals.
4. Provide frequent feedback
Many articles describe how Millennials are a generation that requires constant feedback. They are not a generation that will be happy with a once a year performance review. Millennials value receiving real-time feedback and assessments on a more regular basis.
Why is this? They are a generation that grew up with with very involved parents coaching them and instant access online to grades. They want to be told how they are performing in the moment as it is happening. Consider on-the-spot feedback with employees or more frequent performance reviews that touch base and highlight positive contributions or improvements that might be needed.
5. Have fun
Millennials want to enjoy their work, and they want to enjoy their workplace. Millennials are attracted to companies that create a fun work culture. Informal foosball tournaments, barbecue lunches or board game tournaments could bring some fun and team bonding experiences into the workplace.
Schedule fun and exciting work events for your employees and include some fun activities into the work environment. Companies will find Millennials are more productive in environments where innovative strategies have been created to retain talent.
Given that 50% of the workplace will soon be comprised of such workers, companies will be positioning themselves well for future success if they understand what Millennials are looking for in the workplace and adopt strategies that reflect this.
If you need help attracting and retaining millenials, Business Sherpa Group HR consultants can help. Learn more about our HR consulting services.
About the Author
Cassie Van Tol is a graduate of Queen’s University and joined the Business Sherpa Group as an HR Associate in early 2013 while completing her post graduate certificate in Human Resources. A bright and enthusiastic HR professional, Cassie has since expanded her HR experience and has supported a variety of clients with their HR needs.