Four Tips all Talent Managers should know about Millennials

Published August 7, 2015

The Millennial generation is anyone born between 1980 and 2000.  They are the largest generation ever, and are ‘coming of age’ as an established cohort of key consumers.  Organisations are now observing trends in Millennial behaviour and making plans to appeal to their spending habits.  Millennials have also been entering the workplace for the last ten years, and will continue doing so until today’s 15 year olds leave full-time education.

Why should Talent Management take notice of Millennials?

Millennials have grown up in a time of unprecedented rapid change.  As a result, they have become much more open and embracing of change than any previous generation.  Any research out there will tell you Millennials have unique views of the world, and a different set of priorities compared to Generation X or the Baby Boomers.  They also expect different things from their employment, and they have a more varied set of strengths and weaknesses.  Therefore, HR and Talent Managers must consider Millennial preferences and needs.  This will help attract and recruit the best young talent in the workplace now, as well as retain and develop them effectively for the future.

So what are the key Millennial trends Talent Managers should look out for?

1. Be open and transparent when hiring

Millennials are more used to a fast pace of life than previous generations.  Any hiring process that is unexpectedly long and drawn out will be demotivating.  Make your recruitment stages concise and engaging.  Importantly, give them an insight into your culture.  Millennials want to know they are joining a company that will value them, give them useful feedback and plenty of opportunities to learn.

2. Give clear career progression

Millennials are the poorest generation yet.  By this, I mean they have the greatest student debts ever and have entered the workplace during the global economic recession.  They are not used to high wages or extensive benefits, so fewer Millennials are motivated by money than previous generations.  Instead, they are motivated to continuously learn new things and progress their careers.  If you can’t offer decent skill development or career advancement, then expect high staff turnover in the future.

3. But expect loyalty!

A 6,000 participant study from 2013 looked at how Millennials view themselves compared with how HR professionals view Millennials.  The most extreme difference related to employer loyalty.  82% of Millennials said they wanted to stay with their employer in the long term, whereas only 1% of HR professionals said the same.  This Millennial mindset goes against what current research is saying about how long they are actually staying in jobs compared to previous generations.  To me, this says Millennial preferences are not the problem when it comes to the job hopping trend.  It’s about how organisations treat them.

4. So allow them freedom and flexibility

Millennials are the most socially connected generation ever.  Roughly 80% of them have smartphones and 75% have social media profiles.  Millennials place huge importance on being in touch with their family and friends, and therefore balance a huge number of activities both in and out of work.  This makes them master networkers and multi-taskers, but it also means they don’t want the 55-hour week that typified the Baby Boomer generation.  Allow your Millennials to operate flexibly and explore their work without a restricting structure, and they’ll reward you with greater productivity.

Author: Jordon Jones

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