Millennials are quickly outnumbering the rest of us: There are now more than 75 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, according to Pew Research, and that figure outnumbers the numbers for Generation X.
Besides the numbers millennials offer, they're coming into their own in the workforce at a time when older workers are leaving. Indeed, this younger cohort will be in demand to fill the shoes of baby boomers and even older workers aging out of the workforce. And that's a good thing: Millennials are bringing to your business technology know-how, multitasking skills, social media savvy and an intimate understanding of what your younger customers need.
First, however, you have to get them on board -- and keep them there.
Just as millennials offer unique benefits to your company, they expect in return a unique recruiting approach and workplace environment. Many millennials have expectations of an employer that differ from the expectations of earlier generations -- and some of those things they want may be easier for you to provide than you might think.
So, if you want to attract these younger workers, make sure your workplace offers four key elements:
1. Be a competent boss.
More than half of the millennials responding to a recent survey by Millennial Branding and American Express said that a mentoring relationship would help them become better and more productive contributors to their companies.
Takeaway: Invest in leaders and management programs that foster strong working relationships and emotional intelligence training to get the best work from your millennials.
2. Show a willingness to listen.
Millennials have a fresh perspective that can often offer new solutions or helpful ideas. And they want to be heard. That doesn’t mean supervisors have to implement every idea a millennial worker suggests, but giving these younger workers a voice -- rather than making them wait years to “pay their dues” to be heard -- will increase engagement and make them more likely to stay put.
Takeaway: Encourage millennial workers to share their voice across social channels, which in turn may boost your own employer brand's status, from a workplace transparency perspective.
3. Create opportunities to make a difference.
Millennials want to feel like they’re doing something that matters. Make an effort to present your company’s work in a way that shows how it helps the community, your customers or the world. Or highlight your company’s community service outreach projects. According to the Millennial Impact report, 39 percent of millennials surveyed said that a company’s volunteer policy affects their decision to apply and 55 percent said it affects their decision to take the job.
Takeaway: Make community service a regular part of your company's culture.
4. Offer fair pay.
According to the Workforce 2020 study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of SAP, 68 percent of Millennials surveyed said they consider compensation the most important factor, compared to this rating by 64 percent of other generations surveyed. While younger workers shouldn’t expect to be compensated at the levels of those with more experience, they do expect pay that is consistent with the amount of value they bring to the company.
Takeaway: Research and implement the pay that skilled millennials receive elsewhere.
These workplace changes may feel more like overhauls than tweaks, but focusing on what attracts today’s workforce will position your company even better to intrigue the workers of tomorrow.