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A Fresh Perspective and Different Approach for Hiring and Retaining Millennials

by Stacy Pursell | Oct 16, 2019

Perhaps no workforce or workplace topic has been analyzed and written about more during the past few years than that of the Millennial Generation. There are plenty of good reasons for this, many of which you’re probably already aware.

First and foremost, Millennials now represent the largest generation in the United States workforce. Not only that, but by the year 2025, 70% of the workforce will be either Millennials or Generation Z, which is the generation after the Millennials.

You’ve probably heard all of the “negative stuff” people have said about Millennials, as well. That they’re “soft,” lazy, and they feel entitled to things that they have not yet earned. Rather than representing cold, hard facts, these labels are more subjective than objective. In other words, they’re largely the result of opinion.

But forget about opinion for now. There are more important things with which employers, including Animal Health employers, must contend. These things include the following:

  • The National Unemployment Rate is extremely low, hovering around 3.5% for the past several months.
  • Because of the current candidate-driven market, top talent has been and continues to be exceedingly difficult to find.
  • And because of current market conditions, top employees have been and continue to be exceedingly difficult to retain.

And here’s another fact: Millennials stand between employers and their desire to meet the challenges that exist in the marketplace. In other words, if employers want to experience more success hiring and retaining their employees, then they need to become better at dealing with Millennials.

Underscoring the importance of this statement is the fact that Millennials possess skills and value that the members of other generations simply do NOT possess. And yes, I’m talking about technology skills. After all, these professionals literally grew up with technology all around them. They are “digital natives,” and their skill sets reflect that.

Unfortunately, some managers try to make Millennials “wait their turn” once they’re hired. That’s because they remember having to “wait their turn” when they hired once upon a time. This is a mistake for more than one reason. First, as already discussed, Millennials have value that the members of other generations do not possess. And second, if an employer makes a Millennial employee “wait their turn,” that employee will be much more likely to seek employment elsewhere.

According to The Millennial Manual by Ryan Jenkins, 66% of Millennials expect to leave their organization by the year 2020. That’s in just a couple of months! Can you imagine what it’s like to be an employer and realize that over two-thirds of your Millennial employees are expecting to leave your organization at some point next year? That would be quite a discouraging thought.

But the discouragement doesn’t stop there. That’s because, according to Jenkins, the average cost to replace a Millennial employee is between $15,000 and $20,000. Talk about “adding insult to injury.” Losing a top Millennial employee would be bad enough, but having to shell out that kind of cash to replace them is even worse.

And that is why employers need a fresh perspective and a different approach in terms of hiring and retaining Millennials.

And that perspective and approach both boil down to this: instead of trying to change Millennials, employers need to focus on changing how they interact with Millennials during the hiring process and how they lead Millennials once they become part of the organization.

In other words, the problem is not necessarily the Millennials’ reluctance to conform to traditional methods of hiring and employment. Instead, the problem is that employers and managers are reluctant to change with the times, rework their strategy, and adjust their expectations.

After all, when you look at the situation from a purely numbers perspective, Millennials certainly have the upper hand. As pointed out earlier, they now represent the largest generation by percentage in the United States workforce. And they’ve only just arrived. As more Baby Boomers retire, the percentage of the workforce that they represent will continue to grow.

As a result, the onus is NOT on Millennials to change to change. They have the numbers, and time is on their side. The onus is on the employers that want to tap into the incredible resources and vast potential of the Millennial talent pool.

Specifically, the onus is on employers to reframe their reality, shift their focus, and strive to see the world from the perspective of Millennials. Only by doing this can employers adopt the mindset of Millennials, and once they do that, they’ll be able to more easily identify what motivates this generation.

And knowing what motivates Millennials is an excellent start on the road to successfully hiring and retaining them. However, even though what motivates Millennials is different from other generations, the objective is the same: identify their motivators early in the hiring process and sell to those motivators throughout the process.

And once an employer hires them, its managers must continue to sell to those same motivators. The reasons they decided to work for a particular organization in the first place are the same reasons they’ll decided to keep working for that organization.

With all of this in mind, below are four more tips for successfully hiring and retaining Millennials:

  1. Forget about the job-hopping stigma. Millennials change jobs more frequently. It’s another simple reality of the current marketplace.
  2. Emphasize purpose and not just profit. For Millennials, it’s not just all about the money. Or the benefits. Or the perks. Millennials want fulfillment from their employment and their career.
  3. Learn to “speak their language.” Millennials use different terminology, including different slang and jargon.
  4. Provide feedback more consistently. Millennials want to feel as though they’re connected to their work at all times, that they’re moving forward, and that they’re making progress.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the longer-term success of an organization depends largely on that organization’s ability to hire and retain top Millennial candidates in the marketplace. However, for organizations to consistently accomplish this goal, its leaders and managers must make the decision to adopt a fresh perspective and take a different approach.

Starting with the fact that the onus is on them to make the necessary changes.

 

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