This beggars the question, what do Millennials want? What are they looking for in a position, and what should you offer as a hiring employer? Hiring Millennials isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity. As such, this chapter seeks to explore some best practices for targeting and hiring Millennials, as well as instruction on what they need to provide success for you and your team.
Hire for Drive not Experience
As a hiring manager it’s important to keep in mind that you are employing for the long haul. While nobody likes to sift through (potentially hundreds) of resumes, keep in mind that resumes actually offer very little information about the candidate. They can give you a clue as to their background and overall experience, but there are many things that simply don’t show up in a such a small document.
This becomes doubly true when hiring for entry level positions. At such a level you shouldn’t look to see if a candidate just has experience, (after all, these openings are tailor made for employees to grow into) but try to see a bigger picture of your applicant. It obviously took initiative to apply, so study their application. How much effort or work have they put into their cover letter, or correspondence? Is it a boiler plate cut-and-paste job that’s just had some names changed, or have they shown a real understanding of what you’re looking for, and what your company does? Employing such a driven individual will pay much better dividends, as combining their drive with your training will be sure to create long lasting success.
Job titles ultimately mean very little to Millennials, as they usually wish to put their interests in more tangible things. That isn’t to say titles don’t matter at all, but rewarding a Millennial’s hard work with little more than a title upgrade will most likely leave them disappointed. Millennials are much more interested in learning a diversified skill set, acquiring knowledge and abilities that will bolster them throughout their careers.
To that end, consider offering rotational programs or internships. These are rapidly becoming a major trend in both entry level positions and internships. Being able to cycle through a variety of positions and programs will give an employee (or intern) a wide breadth of early experience, thus allowing them a chance to find what best suits both themselves and your company.
Training is more affordable and accessible then it has ever been, yet many companies are failing to take advantage of the great benefits it offers. As previously stated, recent graduates love training as it builds their long term value, as well as increasing the value of your workforce. Some companies, such as Udacity, offer thousands of courses about a wide variety of subjects, with costs as long as the price of ordering lunch. More in-depth courses (in the vein of collegiate style academics) are also available, in both traditional or night class formats. Online night courses are especially good, as they enable employees to work around their regular schedules, minimizing impact to their productivity.
Please note that if you want to offer training, then you should be willing to pay for it. You’re making an investment in your employees, one that can add extreme returns to your team. Similarly if you offer training, incentivize your staff to use it. Staff typically enjoy training, but it can be difficult to get them started, especially if they’re already in stressful or time-focused positions. Remember that keeping talent invested is the secret to retention.
It’s no secret that one unhappy employee can severely hurt overall morale (and therefore productivity). As such, you should strive to see if a hiring candidate will be a good fit for the existing culture within your company. Give new employees some time to do a test run, make sure they get along with their peers, and understand the values that underpin your work culture.
Don’t make it difficult for people to quit (or worse, punish them), holding on to unhappy employees will do nothing but cost you in the long run. Unhappy people intrinsically make others around them unhappy as well, and entire teams can be ground down by these weak links.
Setting fair pay is one of the most important pieces of job structuring you can do. Millennials are notorious for speaking with each other about financial matters, including sharing their salaries. If you’re paying unfairly, in any aspect, count on your employees finding out and asking for an explanation. Some companies are even publishing their salary rates for complete transparency (one example company is Buffer, offering their information online here).
Pay rates should always take into account the region your company is located in. A company in Tulsa doesn’t need to offer quite as much as a company in the heart of San Francisco. Paying according to an employees average area living cost ensures that they’re earning enough to cover their living expenses, and aren’t stressing about simple things like making rent. Lack of money is an employees top distraction, and once it sets in there isn’t much remedy outside a cost-of-living increase. This isn’t to say that pay raises are all employees care about in compensation, especially if your culture is turning toxic, or if they’re unhappy for some other reason.
Perks to help with life
This brings us to one of the biggest new trends in both hiring and employment. Offering a variety of living perks helps take stressors out of an employees life, and thus motivates them to be more productive and efficient. These can range a wide gamut, but should be targeted to what your specific staff needs. If they have to work unusual or late hours, consider compensating them for Uber or taxi rides, to ensure they feel safe and relaxed during travel. Google offers free, high quality, meals to all its employees, which helps contribute to employee health and happiness, while simultaneously encouraging them to work longer hours. Free house cleaning can be a huge help to employees with families, or those who work from home. Meditation or relaxation rooms are a cheaper way to offer a quiet, stress-free area for employees to take their breaks in, and many companies have been surprised at how helpful a few comfy couches can be.
One of the larger changes that some companies have been making is offering unlimited sick and vacation days. Studies are showing that employees actually abuse these systems less than day-tracking systems, while further removing unneeded stress from a workplace. Vacations are more relaxing, and sick days more recuperating, as employees aren’t worrying about how much time they have left at any one time.
Finally, don’t forget to allow (and indeed, encourage) employees to pursue their own projects. New hires are much more likely to stick with your company if they know their creative pursuits will be rewarded. This also creates further value for your company, you never really know what an employee may come up with! Keep an open mind, and let them demonstrate the value of their ideas.