How to Attract and Keep Millennial Employees

by Marcianne Kuethen
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If you’re an employer with a pulse, one of your key concerns for 2018 is probably how to attract and keep Millennial employees. We used to tell you that Millennials were the workforce of the future, but the reality is, they are now the workforce of today. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, more than one in three American labor force participants is a Millennial, and at least one in five is in a senior leadership position. By 2020, says Forbes, nearly half of the American workforce will be comprised of Millennials. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that by 2030, this group will represent 75 percent of the workforce.

As the largest generation in the workforce, Millennials matter more than ever. Their opinions and beliefs about business should be taken into account as you shape your future hiring and business strategies. Not only will some of them soon be running your company, but others will also be choosing whether to do business with you, depending on your values.

How Millennials Perceive Businesses

Millennials have long had the reputation of being motivated by charity rather than just compensation. According to a 2018 Deloitte survey of nearly 12,000 Millennials and their younger coworkers, GenZs, they are still looking for business leaders to be agents of positive change. The difference now is, they’re more disillusioned than ever with businesses’ priorities. Only 48% of Millennials believe that businesses behave ethically, down 17% from a year ago. Only 47% believe that business leaders are seriously trying to improve society, down 15% from 2017. An increasing number of Millennials believe there is a big disparity between what businesses should accomplish and what businesses’ actual priorities are—generating profits.

What Millennials Value

Philanthropic desires notwithstanding, financial rewards and workplace culture were revealed by the survey to be the top two factors that attract this age group to a company. In Deloitte’s survey, 63% of Millennials said pay was their top priority, and 52% felt that culture was their second priority. But for Millennials to want to stay with a company beyond five years, they want to see diversity within the organization, higher degrees of flexibility, and a more inclusive culture.

They also shared concerns about being prepared for the changes brought about by America’s fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. While they recognize its current and future importance, only 36% believe they have the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive. 39% believe it is business’s role to equip them with the necessary technical skills to work with robotics and artificial intelligence. Millennials also believe that Industry 4.0 will require them to develop interpersonal skills, confidence, and ethical behavior, traits they see as essential for the success of any business.

To answer the question of how to attract and keep Millennial employees, Larry Alton, contributor to Forbes, shares these as the main factors younger workers want to see:

Corporate Social Responsibility—They want you to demonstrate environmental responsibility, fight against climate change, volunteer with or support charities, or give back to the community.

Diversity and Inclusion—Millennials would like you to “hire and work with a more diverse range of people, and give workers more chances to see different sides of the world.”

Work-Life Balance—They value flexible hours and vacation time, personal time, appreciation and accommodations for personal needs, and an environment that makes the health and happiness of its workers a priority.

Ideas above Things—Millennials want to be a part of something bigger, and to grow and change.

Feedback and Growth—They want you to affirm them and give them opportunities to keep learning and improving.

Engagement and Purpose—Millennials need to be made to feel their work truly matters, that they’re working toward a worthwhile goal.

How to Attract and Keep Millennial Employees

Employers, this is your opportunity to turn things around and win back Millennials’ loyalty, encourages Deloitte.  “Companies and senior management teams that are most aligned with Millennials in terms of purpose, culture, and professional development are likely to attract and retain the best young talent and, in turn, potentially achieve better financial performance. Loyalty must be earned, and the vast majority of Millennials are prepared to move, and move quickly, for a better workplace experience.”

Here are three action steps from LinkedIn for how to attract and keep Millennial employees:

  1. Be direct. When it comes to their career goals, millennials value open and honest dialogue.
  2. Empower them. Millennials are discovering their talents and passions. Let them know you expect them to try out new responsibilities.
  3. Give them room to grow. Make it known from the beginning that your company cares about them learning new things.

It’s significant to note that Millennials, while having a distinct reputation, aren’t that different from…well, you and me. Don’t we all want to have some purpose beyond just ourselves, be seen for who we are, find meaningful work, and be given room to grow? If you’re wondering how to attract and keep Millennial employees, perhaps it starts with seeing them as younger versions of yourself.

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