How to Attract, Hire and Retain Millennials in the 21st Century

For years, there has been talk among employers regarding the influx of millennials into the workforce. I recall a conversation that I had several years ago with a friend that managed the local branch of a bank. He was very frustrated with the turn-over rate in his branch and he began to tell me how difficult it was to get this “new generation” to play by traditional corporate rules. Moreover, he was wrestling with some of the “suggestions” that had been given to him by some of his employees, which were millennials. They included changing the dress code from business to casual and changing their work hours from 8:30am – 5:30pm to 10:00 am to 4:00p, because they simply could not get to work by 8:30am. I have to admit that I was appalled. I could not believe that these young people were making such demands and I vividly remember that after finished my rant regarding their suggestions, my friend quietly said, “This is what they want and we may have to appease them.”

Research has shown that in 2014, millennials accounted for 40 million people in the workforce, and they are set to become the nation’s first hundred-million-member generation. Moreover, they are influencing not only the way they will work but also the way everyone else in the workforce will work. The problem is that many employers still don’t understand this new generation and the value that they bring to the workforce. Therefore, many either consciously or sub-consciously fail to attract millennials or Gen Zers to their companies. However, for companies that want to be the best in their industry, failing to attract, hire and retain A-players, many of which are millennials, will be detrimental to the success of the companies.

Based on the way millennials have grown up, they adapt well to change, are technologically savvy, and are very creative. Millennials are also highly-skilled and highly-educated. Research has shown that millennials are continuous learners, optimistic about the future and one of the most diverse generations ever. They are team players, results-oriented, and socially conscious. Moreover, they want to be challenged in their work, understand the relationship between their work and the overall mission of the company for which they work, and receive constant feedback and appreciation. Finally, they want flexibility in how and when they work; rapid career progression and they expect their managers to be engaged with in the process.

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