Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ten Things Every Recruiting Professional Should Know About Millennials

We see a lot of information on both sides of the employment aisle and thought it might be fun to compile some of it on various market and employee segments into top ten lists. The newest employee group, the "Millennials", just entering the job market seemed like a great place to start since their interests and work style are still becoming known.

This first list targets key job, career and personal issues relating to finding, hiring and retaining this new talent group as they enter the workplace.

Postbetter feedback based on client hiring experiences provides the basis for the report.

Julie Mattson and Jackie Nerhus of Katun Corporation in Minneapolis have this to offer: "Millennials are very engaged in their job and in the community, they like to have a voice in how things are done and look forward to giving and receiving frequent feedback."

Glen Gardner of The Vortechs Group, a tech recruiting company in Cincinnati, talks about connectivity: "To find top performers I look for people who blog, who have a website, who publish on others blogs, participate in usergroups and use open source code."

Herewith:
Ten things every recruiting professional should know about Millennials

  1. Millennials are sociable and team oriented. They enjoy working in teams and like being friends with coworkers. They expect diversity in the workplace and seek a fair and evenhanded management. If you assign goals to their work teams and then evaluate them as a group they can produce amazing results. You might even consider the benefits of designing workplaces to accommodate idea sharing, teamwork and social interaction among coworkers.
  2. Millennials are connected. More than any previous generation the computer, cell phones and electronics connect them, and they use'em. They use connectedness to share and interact with friends, with their network, AND to do business. This is a plus to employers who understand it. When Millennials have a challenge they often go out to their group in developing the solution, this is not a distraction, but is normal to them in getting work done. A quick text to a co-worker may be faster than a phone call or a desk visit. Previous generations had to struggle getting timely information - Millennials get it right now - and move on with their day.
  3. They work hard, play hard. They have always filled their lives with multiple activities - playing sports, helping causes and communities, being active with friends and family. They work hard and are fully engaged in their work, but they get work done during the workday and try to keep a life-work balance. They seek employers who value this balance and who provide shared values, company events and hierarchies that support these priorities.
  4. They are confident. Millennials have a confidence that has come from positive reinforcement all their lives. They know they can do the work, why couldn't they. If they need to find out something they go to their network of friends, coworkers, managers, even parents and get help knowing that together they can figure it all out. They know they can do the work, they expect to work hard, but they also expect to be rewarded and seek employers who share those values.
  5. They have a voice. Millennials grew up being told they were special, having a voice in events that affect them, and expecting to be heard. Unlike previous generations that neatly fit into the existing status quo they will express their opinion and are unapologetic about it. Getting and giving feedback is a very good thing. The more often the better. Millennials react very positively to a steady flow of "how ya doing" dialog and have plenty to offer in return.
  6. They do technology. With all the tools available to them - Facebook, MySpace, ipods, PDAs, phones, computers, etc., Millennials are tech oriented and seriously networked. They stay in touch daily, even hourly, connecting with friends, co-workers, classmates, and other professionals, even parents (who still play a big part of their lives). While this may seem a distraction to older workers Millennials draw on their network and technology in everyday tasks and activities seeing it as an extension of who they are. If you want to be innovative consider setting up a reverse mentoring program whereby Millennials tutor older workers to use technology.
  7. They multi-task. The phone, multiple text messaging, a meeting, emails, an ipod and maybe a couple of other activities - all at once. These are multi-taskers like you can't believe. They are used to it. Like it. And they get their work done by 5 and go home, or on to other activities. It's how they work. If it ever slows down they will suffer acute boredom. Give them short term and long term goals, a team to interact with and (chuckle) get out of the way.
  8. They are loyal. To family and friends, to personal interests, to jobs that don't bore and are rewarding. Keeping them engaged and challenged is the key to retaining them for very long. The things they look for in choosing an employer - fairness, challenging work, feedback and open dialog, workteams, live-work culture, community citizenship - are also the things that will keep them from straying. Provide those values and Millennials are productive happy workers. Try to shoehorn them into one of the more dictatorial regimes and they will use their connectedness, flood the market with resumes and be gone before you can figure out where to send the 401k forms.
  9. They're involved. A high rate of Millennials volunteer their time on community projects. They have grown up thinking about the greater good and now as adults they act on it. They expect companies to have community involvement and to be involved themselves. Further, they expect companies to operate in ways that create a sustainable environment.
  10. They want to develop their careers. Millennials aren't typically impressed with overblown mission statements - they expect a workplace that is challenging, fun, creative and rewarding both financially and careerwise. They want assignments on projects they can learn from. They want leadership to be genuine and caring, yet demanding and mentoring. Successful managers will offer a career path with growth opportunities and give lots of feedback as they progress. They have been told they are special, they believe it, and given the opportunity they will prove its true.

2 comments:

Greg Rollett said...

Great post. It's good to show some of the positives that Gen-Y brings to the table. Even though we get a bad rap, we produce and want to achieve success early, rather then later on in our careers. Is there something wrong with that? Anyway, good information for HR directors to know.

Mike Rooney said...

Thanks for the insightful and timely information. Although, employers often see the behavior represented in their own families I think they often don’t project it to their work places. It is like they operate in two different worlds. It looks like the mountain may have to come to Mohammad after all.