Mention the word ‘millennial’ and the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of employers is ‘risky’. Today’s university graduates are looking to fast-track their career, and are not afraid of jumping from employer to employer to achieve advancement.
In fact, research conducted by Deloitte in 2015 found that two-thirds of millennials expect they will have moved on from their current employer by the end of 2020. Nearly half (44%) say, if given the choice, they would like to leave their current employer in the next two years.
The problem this poses for businesses is, of course, the risk of investing significant time and money recruiting, onboarding and training a candidate who ups and leaves within 24 months.
But rather than cutting back on staff investment, or avoiding hiring millennials at all, the question business owners should really be asking is: ‘How do I adjust my employment management approach to account for this shorter tenure culture?’
Here are my tips for businesses to get the most from millennials:
Getting your recruitment right is critical in the new world of work! Traditional recruitment approaches focus on matching candidates against a list of required skills. This is all well and good if you want to hire experienced staff, but it’s unlikely you’ll find a graduate that can tick every box on your list of criteria.
Instead, look for candidates who are the right cultural fit for your organisation. Do they share the same values as your existing employees? Are they genuinely interested in what the business does and have a desire to see it succeed?
Skills can be taught and developed. In fact, millennials rate the opportunity to progress/become a leader as the third most important factor when deciding on an employer (behind salary and good work/life balance). Providing professional development opportunities for your staff will make them more likely to see you as an employer of choice, who is willing to invest in them, and in turn increase their loyalty.
Are You a Great Place to Work?
Do you have people lined-up around the block to work with you? Are you receiving unsolicited job applications daily? If not, why not? If you want to recruit the best, you need to make your workplace worth their while.
I’m not saying every office should be like the Google Headquarters, with ping pong tables, nap rooms, petting zoos, etc, but you do need to consider what your employees value most about their workplace. It could be the flexible hours, the proximity to parking, or the Friday afternoon drinks, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find your most loyal employees like the way you do business.
Deloitte found that millennials value businesses that have a high employee satisfaction and treat them fairly/loyally. They believe that long-term business success is achieved through ethics, trust and honesty. They also want to work for businesses that have strong customer loyalty/satisfaction, and whose products and services make a difference to people’s lives, as opposed to businesses that are profit driven and focused on the bottom line. In fact, 56% of millennials have ruled out working for a particular organisation because of its values or standard of conduct.
Before applying for a job, a millennial will conduct online research into their potential employer. One too many negative social media reviews or an absence of aligned values on the company website may deter millennials from even submitting their resume. Or, if they do take the job, don’t expect them to hang around if things don’t change.
Even if you have a great workplace and jobs that are incredibly rewarding for your staff, you will still have to deal with replacing employees. The reality is that today’s workforce is not prepared to make a lifetime commitment to one single employer. Which means to be successful in the current employment market, businesses need minimise the cost of recruitment, onboarding and HR administration.
The best way to do this is through technology. Software can manage the entire recruitment process for you (so there’s no need to hire an external agency). Employee self service systems can handle all your HR admin tasks and give your employees more control. Digital induction and training courses can be customised for your business and save you time and money. The list of digital HR solutions available for small businesses is endless.
Technology is also something millennials know a lot about. If they see that your business values and invests in new technology, they’re more likely to see themselves working for your business for years to come.
Recognise the Benefits
Finally, it’s important to recognise that young people bring their own benefits to an organisation. They have an energy and enthusiasm that is often infectious; this is their first ‘real’ job and they’re no doubt keen to make their mark. Give them the opportunity to share this enthusiasm with the rest of your team – just because they’re new doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas.
Speaking of good ideas, a set of fresh eyes within the business can be a great way to identify inefficiencies or redundant processes. Within their first three months at your company, ask your new employees to identify three things they would do differently. You just might be surprised at the results.
The bottom line is millennials are the workforce of the future. How you choose to adapt your business to engage with this next generation of employees will set the scene for your future success.