Recruiting and Retaining Millennials Using Technology: Research and Best Practices

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The growing prevalence of big data in everyday life has implications for every industry, including HR and recruiting. When used properly, data science can help employers recruit employees who are better matches for open positions. However, organizations across the board currently face a shortage of professionals who are trained in data science. This means HR and recruiting departments may struggle in the current climate to find data-savvy talent for their teams. Equipping more recruiters and HR pros with data science skills is imperative, especially as more millennials enter into and advance through the workforce.

Recruitment metrics  should not be used simply to fill positions, but to promote the long-term health of the organization. Data science is a new tool in the recruiting arsenal that promises all hiring stakeholders a better return on investment.

Recruitment metrics work best when tailored to a specific organization/specific industry and when the hiring process focuses on the quality of applications rather than quantity. Rather than leverage metrics to increase the number of applicants, HR pros and recruiters should use metrics to increase the quality of applicants. Using data science to connect candidates to best-fit positions for both themselves and the employer will lead to longer-term success.

Metrics to consider include:

– The number of competent candidates who apply for the position
– The percentage of offers accepted by candidates
– The percentage of interviews that result in offers

Planning for Growth

Using data science to target best-fit applicants does not only benefit the employer. It also yields the best results for prospective employees. Placing an employee in a job that suits them and offers professional development opportunities can promote retention and prevent burnout.

Mentorship programs are especially important for the long-term success of new employees. In fact, a study referenced in “Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace,”  a report from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, found that people enrolled in voluntary mentorship programs had 23 percent higher retention rates than those not involved in such programs, resulting in a savings of roughly $6.7 million for the employer.

These mentoring programs can be mutual. While new hires learn from established employees how to thrive in the organization, established employees can learn a thing or two from new hires as well. For example, some companies have their newest recruits lead in-house technology training. Such mutual mentorship can give new employees a greater sense of belonging and ownership in the company while also promoting intergenerational bonding opportunities.

According to the UNC Kenan-Flagler report, millennials rank professional development among their top priorities at work. These opportunities do not always have to be explicitly oriented toward technology or data science, but technology can play a prominent role in how employees are trained. HR professionals can keep track of employees’ educations through specialized performance management software platforms that provide continuous records of employee growth. The employment data collected can then be used to further refine professional development opportunities according to what does or doesn’t work for employees across the organization.

Benefits Packages

Employers should never underestimate the recruitment value of a great benefits packages, especially when it comes to millennials. As the UNC Kenan-Flagler report points out, many millennials are worried they will have to fund their retirements entirely on their own. The report encourages employers to offer immediate 401(k) enrollment to new employees.

Benefits packages can become even more attractive when they are provided in tandem with technological innovations that allow employees to more easily manage their benefits. Apps and online portals through which employees can access benefits information — or even benefits services — can be particularly alluring to millennial talent.

Feedback Is Key

Both existing employees and candidates in a company’s talent pipeline value feedback. They can also be valuable sources of feedback.

For example, recruiters and HR pros would do well to solicit feedback on the hiring process from candidates. Many software solutions exist today that make it easy to obtain, track, and analyze such feedback. By paying attention to what candidates have to say, recruiters and HR pros can improve their hiring processes and offer better candidate experiences.

Once they are in the workplace, millennials tend to view their managers as coaches and mentors rather than as bosses. As the UNC Kenan-Flagler report points out, employers may need to take extra care to communicate deadlines, boundaries, and other business expectations to millennials as a result.

While the mentorship mentality does have its disadvantages, it can also be a boon for employers that know how to leverage it. Millennials thrive on education, which means they are quite capable of evolving alongside the organization in our rapidly changing digital age. To help millennials continuously develop, many companies are utilizing more and more technology in onboarding and cross-training initiatives. eLearning software can be a great way to introduce employees to new concepts without interrupting existing workflows. Young workers and those who have recently switched careers can be more easily onboarded through eLearning software as well.

Lacey Lyons is a writer for She can be reached at

By Lacey Lyons