(Written By a Millennial)
Millennials are changing the workforce. If you are struggling to understand their needs and get the feeling that they are all lazy and entitled, you are mistaken. Millennials bring a new dynamic to the workforce. As hiring managers, you can either take advantage of their skillset to empower them to be leaders in the organization, or they will leverage your training and move onto another opportunity with a better offering.
As a hiring manager, you must focus on recruiting and retaining Millennials. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to bend over backwards for this generation and provide them with a game room, endless beer on tap, and free lunches. I mean we all want that. Most of the things Millennials seek in an organization you already have, but you may fail to recognize.
Here are 8 ways you can attract and retain Millennials as top producers in your organization.
- Leadership and Direction
Millennials need leadership. They do not crave cubicle life with orders being passed down. Instead, lead by example and work with them. Millennials prefer working as a team under one common goal rather than being told what to do. It’s not hard work they are afraid of, it’s doing a job that may feel like it has no purpose. They are looking for a coach. Show this generation how and why you do something. Give them metrics of success, and allow them to help optimize the process.
We all need time to develop our skills. Millennials are no different, so help them harness their skills. Take time for training and help them learn more and provide more responsibilities. By investing in training, you’re providing the opportunity to grow. Millennials want to make an impact. Millennials tend to be enthusiastic learners who have not already formed bad habits from previous jobs. This generation is coachable and will implement the techniques and strategies that they are taught.
Simply put, they need feedback. I know what you’re thinking, “Millennials are used to getting the trophy just for showing up and not winning.” You aren’t completely wrong, but keep in mind it’s not all about flattering them. Millennials want to participate and be part of a company that is changing the world. Help empower them to do so and let them know their work matters. Get them involved on projects you’re working on.
- Compassion and Understanding
Remember, you were there once. You had your first job somewhere. You’ve been in the same life stage they are at now, trying to figure it all out. Figure out what is really driving them. Millennials are idealists and if you align with their goals you will be able to motivate them towards results. Rethink their incentives. Get to know your Millennial employees on a personal level. Ask them about their goals and work with them to align professional and personal accomplishments. If they feel that their manager supports them, it will give them more confidence and form more loyalty.
Empower Millennials to be leaders. Push them to think outside the box. I mean that’s why you hired them, to help grow the company, right? Use their fresh ideas and perspective for strategy. Recognize the hard work and hours they are putting into your organization. Millennials believe in quality of work over quantity. Push them to be at their best. They will take leadership and run with it. They will also be entrepreneurial and innovative to find solutions to improve efficiency.
Millennials don’t leave jobs, they leave companies. Millennials want to understand the big picture and see growth, not complacency. Millennials are used to instant gratification. They will start every job with high expectations and high hope. It is important that you help shape their expectations for the job. A job is a job no matter where you go. Show them why they can grow a career with your organization.
- Mobility and Flexibility
According to a study by Zogby Analytics, 8/10 Millennials reach for their cell phone first thing in the morning, and 87% say the phone never leaves their side. They are used to being accessible throughout the day. It’s not that the 40 hour work week no longer exists, it’s that it is no longer confined to the hours between 9am and 5pm. Give your team daily and weekly goals to accomplish, and hold them accountable to hitting them. Provide some flexibility and maybe the option to work remote as long as goals are being met. Make sure your organization is embracing digital tools that enable Millennials to work from mobile devices.
- Fun Work Culture:
This should be obvious. Make sure you are creating a healthy and fun workplace. Work is work, but you should promote the work-hard/play-hard mentality. Your work culture is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factors to attract and retain talent. Take time to foster your culture to make sure your team works well together. Recognize and reward your team. Make time to take breaks, socialize, and celebrate. You will create a more unified belief as you continue to attract talent.
Aside from compensation, vacation time, benefits, and commute, Millennials crave the ability to make an impact. It’s not that Millennials are entitled and think they can do someone’s job better than they can, it’s that Millennials can be impatient. Their energy and drive is around growth and work-life integration. As a hiring manager and leader in the company, you must ground them and coach them. Steer their passion in the right direction and empower them to step up and take on more responsibilities. Coach Millennials within your organization and grow your business.