October 3, 2014

Nine Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Millennials

JumpIn a competitive industry filled with young digital professionals, hiring and retaining a talented team is a major challenge and a top priority for all tech-oriented organizations.  With the recent press surrounding the millennial population, any company that strives for significant growth over the next decade will need to take this new and exciting population very seriously.

So what are the inherent challenges in this new generation of millennials?  To start, millennials have high expectations for their work place and will exit quickly if their needs aren’t met.  Second, millennials want to feel important and have the capability to make an immediate impact on their team and organization. Unlike generation Xers, who were comfortable putting in the time to prove themselves, millennials expect to be major players in any business from day one.  Third, millennials have access to much more information on competing companies and their cultures, benefits, and perks than ever before.  Therefore, a strong employer brand is more important than ever.  The companies that will have success in the digital landscape over the next few years will be those that take these challenges head on, and are prepared to constantly adopt their culture to fit this rapidly growing population in the business world.

Below are key areas to focus on to better recruit and retain millennials:

  1. Build your company brand by engaging potential applicants on social media. Exhibit events, perks, and benefits on Facebook, Linkedin, and other social media platforms.
  2. Praise millennials through the interview process. Interviewing is more than ever a two way street, and interview candidates want to be seen as hot commodities that not only need to pitch themselves to hiring managers, but also be sold on the values, mission, and benefits of a company. Thank candidates for their time and let them know head-on if you are impressed with how they answered a question or an experience they have had.
  3. Work-life balance is key. Millennials expect it from day-one in any new job.  They are going to work hard, but they want to have the flexibility and time to spend with family and friends.
  4. Millennials crave mentorship and face time with managers. They crave constant learning. It is essential they experience new challenges each and every month and have significant interaction with experienced leaders. I advise companies to assign each new employee a mentor who is a senior team member from a different team to help new employees get exposed to a broader understanding of the organization.
  5. They are curious and confident. Millennials are not afraid to question the status quo, and they need to be heard. If they think a process should be changed or procedure improved, they want to tell you. Create an environment that encourages employees to build strong relationships and give entry-level employees the opportunity to work and engage socially with senior management. Encourage team managers in their weekly meetings to leave time for team feedback on new processes.
  6. Millennials want to gain satisfaction from work. They feel that life is too short to take everything overly seriously. It is the norm to make friends at work socialize and laugh and tell jokes through the work day. Businesses must embrace and enjoy this type of fun, as it leads to passion and commitment to the company values and goals.
  7. Perks are an expectation. With all the press around the perks of the Googles and Facebooks of the world, millennials think this is the norm. They expect the celebratory food, drinks, and events.
  8. They value an employer’s social responsibility. More than any other generation, millennials feel strongly about a company’s commitment to the community and making the world a better place.  Have your HR team organize community service events quarterly, giving groups of employees the opportunity to participate in revolving community service offerings during work hours.
  9. Millennials seek incentives and performance-based pay. Of course, everyone loves a steady base salary, but on top of that, millennials also expect performance-based pay, which rewards them for direct organizational contributions. Performance-based pay is no longer confined to sales employees any more. Get creative with performance bonuses that incentivize all levels of the company to hit their own individual performance goals.

Read more in Retention

Jonathan Berger manages the human resources, operations, and technology team at Direct Agents. Having started with the company in 2009, Jonathan oversees such areas as recruitment, training, benefits, compensation, and employee relations with a focus on facilitating the continued growth of Direct Agents. In addition, he has helped build the company’s structure and operational efficiency in order to allow for continued growth and profit. Prior to Direct Agents, Jonathan worked as a research consultant for Sourcetone, a music-health research company, and has experience working for the consulting company Sandra Hartog and Associates and NBC Universal. He received a master’s degree in social-organizational psychology – leadership from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in human development from Cornell University.