Millennials will become the largest generation in the workplace by 2015. Become an employer of choice for them, and you will gain a huge competitive advantage. Here’s how to do it.
Baby Boomers (ages 46 – 64) overwhelmingly dominate the management ranks, yet Millennials, born between 1978 and 1999, will outnumber Baby Boomers in the U.S. workforce by 2015. By 2025, Millennials will represent a whopping 75% of the global workforce. Organizations that develop strategies today to effectively attract and retain this emerging giant of a generational workforce will be uniquely positioned to dominate their competition. So what can your organization do right now to become an employer of choice for them? Based on our research and experience working with leaders and organizations around the world, we’ve identified 6 best practices you can implement. Here’s what we’ve discovered:
If you want to be a magnet for Millennials, offer flexibility. In the 2nd annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report which surveyed 1,400 college students and 1,400 young professionals under age of 30, nearly two thirds of Millennials asked about social media policies in interviews. Additionally, nearly 7 in 10 said they would like to occasionally work from home. The employers of choice already offer these and other options for flexibility so maintaining rigid and / or inflexible policies is already making your organization very unattractive.
Younger generations have been raised on receiving constant, immediate feedback. They also expect to have great clarity in what’s expected of them. If managers think they don’t have time to give regular performance feedback now, just wait till they have to manage a majority of Millennials. Human Resources (HR) professionals know the traditional performance management practices will not work in the near future. That is why there is a significant focus on performance coaching and using leaders as teachers. To become an employer of choice for young professionals, implement coaching, teach managers how to provide clear and specific expectations, and make regular feedback sessions a common occurrence.
Provide Mentoring (and Reverse Mentoring)
Mentoring for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers almost always means an older employee mentoring a younger employee using a 1 way communication approach. The most attractive places to work for Millennials use reverse mentoring where the learning goes both ways. In the “New Kids on the Block” article by Kathryn Tyler (HR Magazine October 2013 issue), companies such as Cisco, Johnson and Johnson, General Electric, and The Hartford all have some form of reverse mentoring. And as she cites, the results are impressive as it has led to new telemarketing strategies, updated social media usage policies, and increased comfort among employees with a company’s networking information sharing capabilities.
Millennials expect to have their input sought after and utilized. Companies like Raytheon have created an organizational culture where employees are consistently asked to share their thoughts and ideas. Inclusion is a key business strategy for the company. In “On the Talent War’s Front Lines” (HR Magazine’s October 2013 issue), Keith Peden, Sr. Vice President of HR, says Raytheon must hire 2% of the 50,000 engineering students who graduate from U.S. institutions each year just to maintain their current level of business. They’re already using their organizational culture as a recruiting and retention advantage. Other companies would be wise to do the same.
Millennials grew up with technology, and they are used to change at warp speed. Apple and other smartphone providers are locked in a never ending cycle of innovating to grow sales. CompTIA’s Generational Research on Technology study revealed 67% of Millennials judge their employers based on their technological savvy. But it goes beyond technology. Best practices companies have simple processes such as crowdsourcing and affinity groups to capture younger peoples’ great ideas. What are you doing to nurture their immense talent?
Invest in the Community
In our consulting work with ArcelorMittal in Liberia, we saw one of the best examples of an organization investing in a community you’ll ever see. Liberia, one of the poorest countries on earth, is still recovering from 14 years of civil war. To aid in rebuilding the peoples’ knowledge, the company has built schools to educate the children and has also created technical schools to continue their educational development in the high school and post high school years. This creates a natural pipeline of future workers, and Millennials gravitate to community investments such as these. Whether it be Walk for Breast Cancer events, United Way campaigns, or teaching a community’s small business owners how to use Instagram for business, if you want to be a best places to work for Millennials, give them opportunities to invest in their communities.
A majority of organizations have not developed a talent management strategy for attracting and retaining Millennials. By adopting any of the best practices we’ve listed here, your organization can take the steps necessary to turn this incredibly talented generation into a huge competitive advantage in your marketplace.
The Floor is Yours
What other strategies have you found to be very effective at bringing and keeping Millennials in your organization? Please share your feedback in the comments below.
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