Millennial talent is engulfing the workforce. The Baby Boomers will know them known for being lazy, entitled and unable to grow up, but by 2020 they’re predicted to hold more than 50 per cent of jobs worldwide.
The millennial mindset is deeply shaped by the climate of their emerging years; doting parents, a social media boom, and a global recession. The good news is, that they’re chomping at the bit to prove themselves, and they know that nothing comes for free.
If your firm is looking for new blood, here are the crucial ‘dos and don’ts’ for hiring, managing ad retaining the next generation of talent.
Don’t be vague. From your job description to your employee’s development prospects, millennials value clarity in what you expect from them to succeed. Eliminating novelty buzzwords like ‘ninja’ and ‘guru’ from your hiring process is the first step (they can see straight through the bullcrap), and once you’ve found your new hire, making sure they have a clear route of progression – vertically or horizontally – is the way to keep them from looking elsewhere.
Do explain what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. Millennials aren’t just looking for a way to pay the bills, they’re looking for satisfaction in their daily lives. By engaging with them and demonstrating the wider context and impact of their work, you’ll keep them focused and ticking.
Don’t be put off by their multi-tasking. While ‘single-tasking’ is winning over productivity experts around the world, don’t be concerned if it looks like your millennial hire is spreading themselves too thinly. Short attention spans and constant media consumption has shaped them to be perfectly capable of talking on the phone, while reading an email, while answering instant messages, while the radio is on in the background.
Do exercise your leadership. Groomed by social media, there’s a strong part of the millennial psyche that strives to befriend everyone. Don’t misunderstand this as an invitation to lose your authority, as more than anything, they respect an intelligent, fair, and encouraging leader. Focus on gaining their professional respect, rather than personal admiration.
Don’t believe the myth that millennials need their hand holding; rather, understand it as an aversion to failure and a desire to be conscientious in their work. Giving their assignment clear parameters (objective, required output, metrics for success, the intended recipient, deadline) and occasionally checking in to confirm whether a millennial worker is on the right track (or showing them ways in which they could improve) will be far more rewarding for both parties than micro-management.
Do make sure that you listen to them. You’re not going to be deliberately undermined or usurped by a millennial – they know that being the boss is your job. However, they’ve grown up with exceptionally attentive parents and the constant, global platform of the internet, so they definitely have an opinion, and they definitely expect to be heard. The plus side of this is that most millennials have their fingers on the pulse, and are ready to bring your firm into the 21st century.
Don’t scoff at overly-fun workplaces. Millennials are savvy to the fact that over a third of their working lives will be spent in the office (or equivalent), and they want to enjoy their time there. While that doesn’t mean you need to install an adult ball-pit or giant slide, do use it as a chance to improve the employee-centricity of your workplace for all of your staff. Social events, work lunches and free fruit and biscuits will go a long way.
Do offer a variety of compensation. Sure, a millennial likes getting paid as much as the next person, but they understand that in a competitive market, other perks may be more achievable. Flexible work scheduling, volunteer days, training opportunities and unique workplace benefits will all keep a millennial worker motivated in lieu of a jacked-up salary.
Don’t expect them to stay forever. While loyalty is still a common trait in millennial workers, it tends to be directed at their leaders, rather than their companies. They know that in an unstable market their best chance of progression and salary increases lies in switching jobs every few years, but if you have earned their respect through effective management, they will never forget it.