Through the Millennial Lens: Embracing Generation Y in the Workplace

Through the Millennial Lens: Embracing Generation Y in the Workplace

In 2016, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. That means, on average, that more than 1 in 3 people who are now interacting with your latest job ads are members of Generation Y — the notoriously educated-but-selective group of 20- and 30- somethings born in the ’80s and ‘90s.

Despite the rise of the millennial workforce and continuous retirement of baby boomers, many companies aren’t seizing the opportunity to attract top millennial talent. Millennials agree that’s the case; employers don’t place significant emphasis on appealing to them. Generation Y may represent the largest portion of the labor force, but relatively speaking, the group’s unemployment rate is still high.

At this point, it becomes our role as employers to change the hiring dialogue.

To attract this valuable group, hiring managers must understand how millennials think and what they’re looking for in employment.

As we’ve discussed prior in our recruitment marketing article, the job seeker should always remain at the forefront of an effective recruiting strategy. Millennial sentiments should guide, not hinder, the way you hire. You can make this happen by shaping your millennial recruitment marketing strategies according to the way millennials think and behave.

A great way to do this is to pair proven millennial sentiments with actionable ideas for your HR department.

Millennials view job-hopping or continuous skills acquisition as normal and beneficial for their advancement. You should provide career-mapping with a clear path of upward mobility.

Retaining millennials might just mean placing extra emphasis on promotions and advancements. Job-hopping among Generation Y workers is seen as a great way to gain a foothold in a potential career path, so it’s important to provide the same benefits that moving to another position might afford.

Millennials are particularly focused on moving up the ladder and taking ownership of their work. Ensure that you put your best foot forward by offering plenty of upward mobility in your company. This is the redefined definition of job security that millennials seek.

Millennials work hard and for long hours. You should offer competitive compensation early on.

A whopping 73 percent of millennials report working more than 40 hours per week. The generation’s affinity for rapid advancement is clear, which means those seeking new employment will demand salaries to match their fresh, evolving skill set.

Top talent in high growth sectors will want to begin salary discussions much earlier on in the hiring process. To win them over, offer a combination of a competitive salary and attractive mentorship options.

Millennials see their career trajectory not as a continuous arc, but as waves with breaks in between. You should be flexible with time off, offer employee education programs and provide ample benefits.

Early retirement isn’t in the cards for most millennials, and they know it. They expect to work longer in life, but with different structures — perhaps with more breaks, variety and spontaneity. That’s why flexibility with timing and expectations appeals to them.

Enjoying time off is the #3 priority for millennials, just behind money and security. Four in ten millennials expect to take significant breaks for relaxation or travel. This doesn’t have to translate to a negative for you; in fact, you’ll likely appreciate the renewed attitude and motivation that results after extended time off.

Millennials may feel that employers have the upper hand or don’t provide enough feedback. You should recognize and reward exceptional talent.

Millennials often go without feedback or constructive criticism throughout a good portion of the hiring process. Incorporate feedback throughout and let them know their standing — both during the hiring process and after it.

It’s no longer enough to conduct quarterly reviews and expect millennials to stick around; take this chance to find new touch points with your employees — whether that’s encouraging team managers to provide daily feedback, or engaging from the top down with company-wide recognition for stellar achievements.

Millennials gain experience in side projects and initiatives. You should look beyond the jobs section on resumes and adopt a cross-functional view of hiring.

An exceptional candidate for your open engineering position may have previously worked in product management. Yet, she won’t view this as a setback — unless you do. Millennials have a keen ability to apply skills across numerous sectors and in various roles. Make it a point to forego hyper-specific job requirements, and instead leave opportunities open for candidates to prove their skills.

As millennials increasingly dominate the workforce, employers should make it their duty to better understand what they need and want in their careers. Only then will we begin to see better matching in job positions, reduced unemployment and increased loyalty of millennials and companies to one another.

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