We are rapidly approaching a tipping point in the American workforce. Baby Boomers are retiring en masse, giving Gen Xers and Millennials an unprecedented opportunity for career advancement. At the same time, the oldest members of Gen Z are graduating college and filling entry-level positions.
The future of many companies is dependent upon hiring and retaining the best Millennial and Gen Z talent—a tall order in the modern “gig economy” where many younger Americans work multiple jobs, often for short periods of time. Traditional means of recruitment may fall flat, and companies need to rethink their compensation and benefits plans, as well as how they engage with the best young talent.
What is the Millennial Looking For?
In a recent Gallup poll, almost half of all working millennials said they found themselves “disengaged” from their jobs, while 36 percent changed jobs within the past year, a number three times larger than any other generation surveyed. Many also said they planned on leaving their current position within the next 12 months if the job market improved. Millennial turnover costs the U.S. an estimated $30.5 billion a year.
This begs the question: how does a company engage the Millennial worker? What tactics do successful companies employ to retain top young talent?
We have identified the following strategies to better connect with Millennial employees:
- Younger generations want continuous improvement and the prospect of bettering themselves. Many companies offer career guidance and coaching beyond an employee’s daily responsibilities.
- Millennials want to understand how their individual responsibilities fit into greater business objectives.
- Clear and consistent job expectations are both appreciated and awaited. This includes structure, evaluation rubrics and assessments.
How to Recruit and Retain Millennial Workers
Millennials are pioneers of the digital world, and they expect recruitment and retention to be largely technology-driven. They are less interested in a PowerPoint presentation than they are your Instastory or LinkedIn updates. They adopt new platforms and lose interest in archaic technology that does not promote collaboration, communication or efficiency.
Having grown up in the age of Google, Millennials are more likely to research a company of interest before applying. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, job boards, career building sites and other industry-specific forums are all important channels for HR departments to participate in and monitor.
What is Generation Z Looking For?
The oldest members of Generation Z are beginning their careers, either already in their first post-college job or actively searching and interviewing. Gen Zers are the first truly digital natives, having spent their whole lives online. They expect to have any information they need at their fingertips.
Their behavior in the workplace is characterized by the following:
- Security-Based. Generation Z grew up during the recession, making their career-orientated personalities more risk-averse than their millennial counterparts.
- Balance. In the age of successful startups, individuals have more control than ever over their work/life balance—which has effectively thrown the traditional 9-5 out the window. That makes them more interested in flexible hours or the idea of being their own boss.
- Technology Native. Millennials have disrupted the way organizations recruit and retain talent by expecting technology-driven options. However, Gen Z may be the first post-website age group. They expect more disruption through new apps and platforms that provide a more detailed approach to job-seeking.
Learn More About Gen Z…From Gen Z
Many organizations think they know what young employees want, but fewer actually seek them out to hear from the source. Generation Z is currently in college, studying and preparing for life in the real world. Forward-thinking companies are meeting their future employees on campus at job fairs or on-campus organizations to understand their needs and prepare for a unique generation. These conversations with students can be helpful for both them and your company.
Disruption to your organization’s workforce is already happening, whether you’re ready or not. Millennials and members of Gen Z are influencing how top organizations recruit and retain young talent, whether through more technology-focused job listings, remote work opportunities or comprehensive benefits plans. HR departments will need to address their current offerings and decide whether they’re prepared for the next generation.
Interested in mapping your company’s generational needs? Hays Companies offers a generational tool that outlines your organization’s population, their unique benefits needs and how to communicate with all four generations alike effectively.