Are millennials taking over your office? Millennials currently make up one third of the workforce, and are projected to be at nearly 50 percent by 2020. Millennials aren’t entry-level workers anymore, either. They currently make up a quarter of all managers in the workforce. If you need to hire a professional with 10-years of experience, that professional may likely be a millennial.
Traditional efforts to attract and motivate millennials may not work, however. While not all generalizations carry true, it’s a fact that millennials are the most socially connected generation to date. They’re used to living life out loud (or on YouTube), and they’re used to linear, rather than hierarchical relationships (vets excluded). How can you take these unique characteristics into account? Here are five tips.
1. Show how your company makes a difference.
Millennials are passionate about social causes – and they want an employer that shares their interest in giving back. You might be accustomed to selling your company’s retirement package, but when it comes to motivating cleared millennials, you may be better of selling your charity match program. Too many hiring strategies bury information about wellness or community service. If your company has these programs, however, make them prominent in your outreach. Highlight pictures of community service in your social media feeds and show the diversity of programs you support. Millennials like a company who gives back, but they also like to have a choice in how they make a difference.
2. Give them a mentor.
Millennials have issues with authority (that’s a generalization, but research shows they’re more motivated by teamwork than orders). They’ve been criticized for not responding well to correction, which often boils down to how they seem themselves in relation to others. The issue often isn’t the criticism, but their perception of what it means. If you want to motivate – rather than deflate – a millennial coworker or hire, pair them with a mentor straight out of the gate. This person may be a boss or supervisor (if that person can jive with a friendly millennial relationship), or it can be a more seasoned coworker who can help the millennial navigate things like annual reviews and corporate structure. And before you think this sounds like going soft on millennial workers, keep in mind we all do better with a mentor to advise us. By helping match millennial workers with great mentors from day one, you’re getting them invested with your company. And that makes more than a great hire, it makes for a great retention rate, as well.
3. Give them good Tech
Sometimes popular media oversells the dependence millennials have on technology. Plenty of millennials work in a SCIF and realize you just can’t have an iPhone in that environment. But even if they’re not connected to their device they do expect to be connected to the best technology possible. If given the choice between more money or a great mission with great tech – many millennials will choose the mission and tech over the money. A USC study found 64 percent of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring. Money certainly talks, but so does state-of-the-art technology – particularly when millennials are given some say in the equipment they use.
4. Sell them on change.
Many candidates are looking for stability – that’s one of the advantages of government employment. But risk-taking is a more defining characteristic of a millennial hire than need for stability. If you mention how ‘consistent’ ‘stable’ and ‘regular’ the job is you just might lose the millennial candidate before they finish reading your job posting. Words like opportunity, passion and change are much more likely to pique interest.
5. Give them feedback.
It’s the most common candidate pet peeve – lack of employer feedback. It’s unreasonable for a candidate to expect a response from every job application or hiring event. But relationships and communication are important when building your talent pipeline. It can be hard to know how to keep that talent warm, but one great way is feedback. If you’re interacting with a TS/SCI with full-scope poly veteran who’s resume is tailored for IT positions (but who’s really more qualified for program management) – provide that feedback. You can’t be expected to engage with every qualified applicant, but when you find great talent, focus on providing value-added feedback and not just the occasional ‘how you doin?’ message.
Much (perhaps too much) is made of the idiosyncrasies of the millennial generation. But it is a fact that every generation has different overarching qualities and characteristics. Knowing what those are will position you for success in this competitive candidate’s market. Knowing what motivates a candidate will often spell the difference in whether they consider your offer or ignore it.