There are currently three generations in the workforce: millennials, 40 percent of whom are still “school-age,” meaning that more will enter the workforce with each college graduation cycle; baby boomers, 1,000 of whom are retiring each day; and Gen. X-ers, who make up 20 percent of the current workplace.
As of this year, millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. That means that recruiters have to learn how to attract them, managers need to figure out how to manage them, and HR pros need to learn how to retain them. Leadership can make them productive members of the workforce, instead of acquiescing to stereotypes and “putting them in their places.”
While it’s not always useful to separate the generations in such strongly segmented ways, during a seismic demographic shift like the one currently occurring as more and more millennials join the work world, it’s important to take a granular approach. The question that many hiring authorities face today is, “Why should I hire millennials — aside from the fact that there are a lot of them out there?.”
Let’s take a look at the reasons why millennials should be a part of everyone’s workforce.
1. Millennials Have a Strong Drive Toward Improving Communications and Relationships
The millennial generation is in tune with social needs, and many members of Generation Y want their work to mean something for the greater good of their communities. A fairly recent survey of college freshman showed that one of their highest priorities was influencing social values (43.1 percent of the surveyed freshmen said this was an “essential” or “very important” goal for them).
Moreover, 20 percent of millennials surveyed in The Millennial Impact Project’s “2014 Millennial Impact Report” said that building bonds with coworkers was important to them.
It’s clear from this data that companies looking to recruit millennials need to start building authentic relationships with candidates during the recruitment process, and these relationships should reflect the company culture. Furthermore, creating these relationships with candidates will make for even healthier company cultures and lead to effective work communication and collaboration.
2. They’re ‘Designed’ to Learn and Grow
If you find that your company has hit a plateau, perhaps it’s time to implement some fresh, millennial-driven ideas. Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history, with 23 percent of them holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
However, compared to their global peers, U.S. college grads are also some of the least prepared for the workforce. This presents an opportunity for employers to train millennials internally while still recruiting a highly educated workforce.
3. They (Might Be) Easier to Engage Than Other Generations
Last year, Gallup studied 32 companies from seven different industries; at each of these companies, engaged employees outnumbered disengaged employees 9 to 1. These companies shared seven common elements when it came to keeping their employees engaged:
- Leaders at these companies were involved, curious, and always striving for improvement.
- HR professionals at these companies had the skills to influence, teach, and hold executives accountable.
- These companies made sure to meet the basic needs for engagement (e.g., employees knew what was expected of them, they had the necessary tools and skills to do their jobs, etc.)
- These companies never used crises or downturns as excuses.
- These companies relentlessly supported all team members.
- These companies took “straightforward and decisive approach[es]” to performance management.
- These companies measured and tracked engagement accurately.
Businesses lose a collective $11 billion annually due to employee turnover, which is directly connected to a lack of engagement at an organization.
Simply hiring already engaged and driven employees from the start eliminates the need to build engagement from the ground up — making a highly productive team in one step. While millennials have no more drive toward engagement than any other generation, the fact that they’re earlier on in their careers may make them more eager to please and more likely to bring their energy to the tasks at hand.
This doesn’t mean managers don’t have to worry about engagement if they hire nothing but highly impactful employees. Hiring employees with strong work ethics simply gives managers and supervisors a stronger start.
Supervisors and managers can ensure high levels of engagement by setting clear goals and expectations for their employees from the start of hire; encouraging employees to communicate; creating healthy bonds with employees; and showing employees that they value them. Supervisors and managers can also implement engagement assessments throughout the hiring and onboarding processes to evaluate the level of engagement across the board and in specific instances.
4. Millennials Are Driven to Become Leaders
Many millennials have hopes of reach the management level: 53 percent of them aspire to become leaders within their organization. This is good news for the many companies that are looking to replace the baby boomers retiring from their senior leadership positions.
Millennials can refresh the workforce with their leadership skills, interpersonal communication skills, dedication, and engagement that they bring to the table. This is why everyone should think about hiring a few millennials this year.