Shift in Thinking: How to Change Your Culture to Recruit and Engage Millennials

Business.com / Hiring / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Millennials think differently, and hiring them can help your business thrive in 2016. Learn how to attract top Millennial talent inside.

Millennials scoff at the idea of staying at a company for thirty years, retiring and collecting a watch.

That career model simply does not appeal to them any longer. As the children of baby boomers, they saw their parents suddenly get laid off after decades of dutiful service and losing their pensions.

The younger generation saw huge Fortune 500 employers collapse, some due to corruption and poor leadership. To say they’re cynical is putting it mildly, and they have every right to be.

While the younger generations don’t have the expectation of being with a company for decades, that doesn’t mean they’re not loyal; they’re just realistic. And because they have a strong sense of self-worth and a belief in their abilities, they have no problem looking for a new job if the current one doesn’t fulfill them.

Meaningful work is an intrinsic aspect of what millennials look for in a company. They are willing to sacrifice high-powered positions and company cars for the ability to use their passion and creativity.

For many companies, this is a mental shift they haven’t had to face before. Stuck in the idea of loyalty, order, and strict policies, businesses are struggling to recruit fresh talent and to keep high performers on their rosters.

Companies cannot afford to keep missing out on this pivotal generation. With Millennials making up nearly half of the workforce by 2020, they are trendsetters, innovators and are in-tune with customer bases. They are an important demographic that can make significant contributions to your bottom line, so learning how to enhance your company culture and encourage employee engagement is key.

Related Article:How to Lose a Millennial in 10 Days

What Do Millennials Want?

Despite media reports, solving the millennial culture issue doesn’t involve Ping-Pong tables, wearing flip-flops to work or espresso bars. Millennials are looking for more purpose in their work. They are continuous learners, socially conscious and achievement-oriented. To appeal to Millennials, a strong culture focused on the greater community is essential. Like many other groups, they want good pay for their contributions, flexible scheduling, meaningful work and an environment where their bosses are mentors rather than commanders.

What Are Millennials’ Top Needs?

Millennials aren’t that different than other working generations. And because they have the highest average student loan debt in history the average graduate has more than $35,000 in student loans salary is important. They have payments to make and bills to pay. They are looking for high salaries to meet their needs and help them build a safety net.

However, once their necessities are covered, income is not everything to the younger generation. According to Achieve’s 2014 Millennial Report, after compensation, the highest factors influencing employment decisions are having their talents and passions used to the fullest and believing in a company’s mission. In fact, a significant portion said they would take a pay cut if it meant working for a company that matched their values.

Beyond salary, Millennials recognize the importance of good benefits, particularly as the cost of healthcare continues to rise. Comprehensive medical benefits and other perks like tuition reimbursement or student loan stipends appeal to Millennials.

Related Article:Who Are You Hiring? Meet the Millennials [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to Recruit Millennials 

After salary and benefits packages, the overall corporate culture is essential to recruiting talented millennials. Key factors influencing where millennials choose to work include:

Industry leadership

According to a survey done by Randstad, one of the top human resource and staffing organizations in the United States, approximately 70 percent of millennials said they want coworkers and management that encourages their best work and pushes the envelope. Millennials are constant learners, and they want to work alongside industry experts and innovators. Showcasing the skills and talents of your current staff, both incorporate materials and during interviews, can motivate candidates to be more engaged and enthusiastic about their growth potential at your company.

Flexible Scheduling

Like other generations of workers, young workers value flexibility and a strong work-life balance. Offering flex-scheduling, compressed work weeks, telecommute options or special summer hours can allow millennials to feel more valued and balanced. They are more likely to feel satisfied and stay longer with employers who offer flexible arrangements away from the office.

Volunteer Recognition

Millennials are purpose-driven, in and out of work. Many of them are very devoted to particular social causes, political campaigns, and philanthropic activities. Instituting programs where you recognize volunteer hours or offer a certain amount of paid time off for volunteering can demonstrate you share their values and commitment to the community.

Less Emphasis on Face Time

With the growing trends in technology and the focus of millennials on global travel and flexibility, less focus on the standard 9-5 office schedule will be a major perk for recruitment. With Skype, Facetime, GotoMeeting and other apps, millennials can be just as plugged in and engaged working thousands of miles away. By offering these options, you can retain talent even when they tour the world.

Autonomy

Millennials manage their own schedules and timelines. They value autonomy and the ability to monitor their own work and make their own judgment calls. By empowering them to make decisions and giving them the ability to act independently, Millennials deliver top-notch work.

Encourage Passion

Millennials are always striving to better things, from streamlining processes to building new social media platforms. By allowing employees to spend some of their work time working on projects they are passionate about even if it’s outside their job descriptions you make employees feel like they are in a culture of innovation where they can make real contributions. Besides improving employee satisfaction, you may also be surprised by the novel results your employees come up with on their side projects.

Related Article: Millennial Takeover: The Workplace Revolution and How It Changes Everything

Millennials are dramatically changing the corporate landscape and our notions of company culture. This younger generation brings a lot of talent and specialized knowledge to the table, so companies cannot afford to maintain the status quo and refuse to adapt. By making changes to the current employee engagement tactics and procedures, you can recruit and retain talented millennials that are both skilled and dedicated, improving your company’s growth potential.

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