The American way of previous generations favored consistency: You get a decent-paying job after high school, work the nine to five slog for decades, then retire after a long, likely unfulfilling term there.
Younger generations don't see the world that way anymore. Millennials, or people who were born between 1980 and 1999, now make up 35% of the working world and are turning the traditional American workforce on its head. If you're in the process of hiring new talent for your company, how can you best reach millennials? What do you need to know about the internet generation and its habits at work?
Don't compare millennials to baby boomers
Most millennials have baby boomer parents, who taught them the value of hard work and doing right by their employer - a valuable moral instilled into the collective generation. Most do want to do a good job and know how to work hard. However, that is where the similarities end when it comes to hiring millennials.
While boomers quietly stepped in, fulfilled their duties, and went home without much fuss, the opposite is true for millennials. They like to do things on their terms, on their own time — and don't want to be compared to baby boomers. Millennials are gradually redefining the workplace.
They're looking for their passion
The joke is that millennials like to job hop, and are lazy to find something and stick to it. This is an unfair conclusion, though; when recruiting millennials, understand that a paycheck is only their secondary motivation for every job they take. Recruitment of millennials means understanding what drives them to do well at work and stay there for the long-term:
- What is their job doing to better the community or the world? Are they making a positive impact?
- How well does the company align with their values? Do they believe in the place they work?
- Is there room to grow, or are they going to be hitting their heads on the metaphorical ceiling for the next decade?
What millennials are looking for above all else is contentment in their jobs, something that they love doing and, in turn, does something positive to benefit the world. If they're not finding their sense of belonging at their job, they're likely to find someplace else that does fulfill them.
Work is less important to them than their personal lives
This is one difference between boomers and millennials that has the older generation clutching at their pearls. It has always been the American way to work, work, work for most of your life; your personal life comes second!
Not to millennials. Think about the childhood that this generation had: They saw the birth of the internet, watched cell phones become an everyday pocket accessory, and were the guinea pigs who mastered the art of digital communication platforms like Skype and Facetime. They want to work hard for you and produce fantastic results — but on their terms.
Considering that 69% of working millennials agree that daily office attendance is unnecessary, what are other avenues to attract them to your workplace? Consider ideas like flexible schedules; after all, millennials are not the late-night partying twentysomethings that you might be imagining. They're adults with children, homes, and responsibilities of their outside of work, so freedom to come in and put in their hours outside of regular work times tend to work better for them.
Think about remote options as well. The aforementioned digital communication platforms are familiar to this age group, and they already know how to use them, so why not take advantage of these skills? After all, if they're producing fantastic results and are getting their jobs done from afar, why should you enforce a strict schedule?
It's essential to keep them engaged
Like their reputation for job-hopping, millennials also have an unfortunate reputation for being lazy on the job. Of course, it varies person by person, but on the whole, your average millennial worker isn't lazy — they're simply bored. A poll discovered a surprising statistic: That only 29% of millennials truly feel engaged and challenged at work.
Growth is one of the buzzwords among people of this age group. What can you do as an employer to ensure that your staff doesn't become unengaged or bored with the routine of the office?
One way to challenge the younger audience is to ensure that they have plenty of chances to partake in professional development, aiding them in the opportunity to move up and move on. How can you offer these kinds of opportunities? Some ideas might include:
- Company retreats. Sometimes being away from it all can help to bring a group closer, as well as help you to see the bigger picture from a different angle.
- Certifications. A professional certification looks fantastic on a resume and opens so many doors for growth within the company. Can you pay for the classes and materials it would take (like books and documents, for example) to help them obtain certification within the industry?
- Leadership opportunities. Not everyone thinks they have what it takes to be a leader, but if you give your millennial workers the chance to prove themselves, you might all be surprised.
Be a strong leader and mentor.
The idea that someone who knows what they're doing and can serve as a reliable manager is attractive to millennials. They want clear direction from a boss who knows what they are talking about and can lead them in a positive direction. Think about yourself and reflect on how you can improve and be a better boss for the changing workforce.
Remember that nobody likes to be micromanaged, especially millennials. Be conscientious of how you give directions and whether or not you're guilty of having your hands in everyone else's pies. If you trust your staff enough to help you run your business, do you need to be dictating their every decision?
Serving as a resource to your employees opens so many doors for everybody. You can impart your wisdom and expertise to the younger staffers, and they see you as somebody knowledgeable who can act as a mentor to them.
On the same token, do you offer a sense of trustworthiness? Millennials don't tend to beat around the bush, and they appreciate the same courtesy from others. If you are someone that can be trusted, more likely than not, you will have employees who will last longer than a year or two.
They're different, but amazing in their own way.
Watching the changes in every generation of America is mind-boggling. The morals, values, and ideas have changed drastically in the last 50 years, especially at work. Don't be deterred from wanting to put millennials on your payroll, though.
No, they're not the same "just yes" workers of yore who lasted for decades, but they are extraordinary inventors, humanitarians, and workers when they're passionate about what they're doing. Since millennials will inevitably make up more of the workforce every year, it's best for you and your company to understand them and how they function on the job.