What You Need to Know When Hiring Millennials

Author: Robyn Parets | May 20, 2016

Note: This is the second in a three-part series on how your business can successfully work with the millennial generation.

If your small company is in growth mode, you’re probably looking to hire employees—and it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll be hiring millennials.

Numbering about 79.8 million in the United States, this generation of 20 to 37-year-olds is the fastest growing generation in the workforce, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics. In fact, this population segment, also called Generation Y, comprises 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce, says research from consulting firm Millennial Branding.

Understanding the millennial mindset

It’s no doubt that tech-savvy millennials, with more college degrees than any other generation, can make a mark on your business. Before hiring millennials, it’s key that you understand the millennial mindset.

For starters, millennials want to make a difference and for this reason, they are determined to contribute to your company’s success in a meaningful way. In fact, to millennial employees, the ability to help a company succeed is typically more important than a big paycheck. To this end, Generation Y is attracted to smaller companies that offer opportunities for growth and the chance to make key decisions, according to Millennial Branding and PayScale.

In addition, because millennials often start out with little experience, they are eager to learn and soak up new information. As they get to know your company, they will also speak up about things that might work better. This can help you improve on existing business practices and lead to new innovations, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics.

Hiring millennials? Here’s what they’re looking for

Now that you know a bit more about what makes millennials tick, it’s important to understand what Generation Y values at work. This way you can be better prepared to both hire and retain millennial employees. We’ve come up with a list of 5 top things millennials look for at their jobs.

1. Happiness and job satisfaction

Unlike other generations of employees who might stick around for the paycheck, millennials will quit if they aren’t happy— even if they’ve only been on the job for a few months. This flies in the face of the mentality of previous generations of employees, who believed they should stay at a job for at least a year. In fact, 41 percent of Baby Boomers ages 50–68 said workers should stick with an employer for at least five years before looking for a new job. Only 13 percent of millennials agree with this sentiment, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Millennial Branding and PayScale.

2. Training and learning opportunities

This is a big one. Millennials expect you to invest in their training and growth, especially as they often arrive on the job with next to no experience. If you don’t have a big training budget, you might want to consider using YouTube for video content since this is a go-to media and learning source for Generation Y, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics.

3. Opportunities for career advancement

Millennials have high expectations when it comes to fast promotions and career mobility. In fact, millennials expect to rapidly rise up the career ladder, according to a PwC research report on millennials.

4. Flexible hours

Millennial employees are willing to take flexibility over more pay, according to a PwC report conducted with the University of Southern California and The London Business School. Along these lines, millennials think the quality of work more accurately measures productivity than the number of hours at the office. They view work as a “thing” and not a “place,” according to the study.

5. Frequent communication using technology

Forget about setting up numerous in-person meetings with your new hires. Although millennials expect to communicate with their direct supervisor often, they want to do this via technology. Generation Y employees prefer to communicate in the following order of importance: text messaging and instant message apps, email, and social media.

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