Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – are one of the largest, or in case of some countries, the largest generation in the labor force. By 2030, they are expected to cover 75 % of the global workforce. Yet, according to Gallup, only 29 % of Millennials are engaged at work.
Now, you might think how Millennials are the “Me-me-me, gimme now!”-generation, who live in a symbiosis with their phones and social media accounts; the generation which don’t know how to interact with people face-to-face and how they are just plain lazy, whiny and entitled beyond their own good. Of course they aren’t interested in engaging at work!
However, that’s nothing new; all generations have had their lazy ones and the generation born after another is always viewed as noxious and anarchist by the prior one. Many wall scribbles saved to our times from the Ancient Rome are complains how the youth nowadays is lazy, no-good, entitled little snobs.
|"I'm convinced that a large percentage of people in any demographic group, including Millennials, are capable of hard work, and a certain percentage are destined to be slackers. The key is finding the right ones to hire, and weeding out the others. (---) Companies that place a high priority on teamwork, on finding people who are humble, hungry and smart, will have no problem with them." – Patrick Lencioni, business management author|
Millennials aren’t more lazy or worse than the previous generations but businesses seemingly aren’t that capable of keeping them in their offices. A lost talent is a lost talent, no matter which generation is in question. How should one proceed when attempting to understand and engage Millennial workers, drawing the best out of them? The answer is - employer branding!
Be Good, Do Good
Millennials are, in short, a socially aware generation which expects companies to treat their employees, customers and the global environment fairly and ethically. This is the generation of green power, environmental issues, equality, human rights and it operates with a huge need to change the world. If they learn that your company is somehow unethical or treats its employees badly, they will turn their backs to you without a second thought – and additionally, via social media, will make sure everyone knows about your underdoing.
Due to this global awareness, the feeling of being of help and needed is important for Millennials. They want to change the world, make it a better place and be part of something positive. Just a plain paycheck won’t keep them working for you and they are ready to change jobs until they find an employer who gets this deep yearning for making the world a better place.
Make sure that you have a sharp vision of what you do and why you do it as a company. Explain it to your Millennials and offer them a chance to be part of it, equal to you. While Millennials respect their leaders, the respect must be earned and the best way to get it is to remind them you are just another human being working on the same cause with your employees. Give them clear roles for this mission you all are in together, so they know what you expect from them and what they can do for you. Millennials love to come together for a good cause and they work hard to make things happen.
Communicate your values and vision on social media
If you are not on social media and you want to hire Millenials, it's time for you to change that now! American Press Institute says that around 88 % of Millennials are using social media daily. Millennials are pretty much always plugged and logged in with their smartphones – just look at the general street view with their noses stuck on their phone screens - so your hiring process will get most visibility on social media platforms.
Being present on social media gives you an opportunity to reach a wider audience, communicate millenials your values, company culture, work, etc. Also, you get to interact with your candidates and answer their questions by commenting, texting, video messaging, which is a clear plus!If they have positive experiences with you, they will share news about it, spreading information about you to other possible recruits.
Study Hard, Work Hard
Coach them, mentor them, offer them opportunities to learn more. Millennials have grown in a rapidly changing world and with a wide knowledge and understanding due to the age of the internet – and they know that they can learn and understand more. They are thirsty for new knowledge and skills. It’s nothing unusual that a Millennial employee is a multi-talent who has learnt half of their talents by themselves, by just being curious about the subject. Use this natural thirst; offer them what they yearn and show them you care about their hunger for more knowledge and understanding.
It’s easy to set them in online courses, teach them virtually or with videos, as Millennials are a connected generation. For them, social media and technology are present every day. Yet, they appreciate face-to-face contacts and meetings. Like any other human beings, this generation wants to be seen and acknowledged by others, especially by their bosses and superiors, to whom they offer a lot of their energy and time. Be authentic, available and honest when communicating with them. Ask questions and let them talk; they might have just the right, fresh answer to your problem at hand.