Getting Inside the Minds of Millennials

To effectively connect with Millennials—who will account for 75 percent of the workforce in just eight years—smart companies adjust their recruiting strategies to meet younger workers where they are.


Born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, these workers bring a different mindset and ideas to the workforce. They like flexible working options, aim to use their skills to improve society, value meaningful work and don’t mind leaving a job sooner than later if unsatisfied.

“They walk in the door with a greater awareness and a greater sense of balance and new ideas,” Steve Wolfe, executive vice president of operations and administration at the Addison Group, says in an article for the Society for Human Resource Management. “They can come in and contribute right out of the gate if they have the right environment.”

Millennials provide a fresh set of tools, passion and perspective for workplaces, so it makes sense that attracting their attention requires updated approaches. Below are suggestions on how to recruit this coveted group:

Update Your Outreach

Immediacy and Millennials go hand in hand. Consider using text messages and website chats, approaches embraced by companies such as Manpower.

Fine Tune Communication

A 2016 LinkedIn survey found that when recruiters message younger workers, they often fail to provide information about a company’s culture and values, information highly valued by younger workers. The good news? That same study found 93 percent of younger workers are interested in learning about new jobs and 66 percent are eager to talk to a recruiter.

Promote the Company’s Personality on Social Media

What better place to share a company’s attributes, highlight employee achievements and promote community outreach? For many Millennials, this is where to go to learn more about an organization’s culture and diversity and find out what others are saying about it. Avoid the perception that your company is a divisive or regressive force in the community.

Emphasize Meaningful Employment

Engaged employees are easier to retain. A 2016 Harvard Business Review study found Millennials are the least engaged generation at work with 71 percent either not engaged or disengaged. The study found that 21 percent of Millennial workers had left their job in the last year, triple the number of non-Millennials who left their jobs. Six in 10 younger workers also said they are open to different job opportunities not within their current company.

Clarify the Management Structure

Millennials want to be clear about how management functions. Will they interact with senior leaders? Are leaders managers or coaches? “Many times recruiters won’t address this, but it has such huge selling power if the company is more of a flat organization with coaching or if the CEO is the type who goes to all of the branches and knows everyone’s name,” Hannah Ubi, a generation expert at BridgeWorks, says in a SHRM article.

Highlight Advancement Opportunities

Once hired, younger workers are looking for a clear path toward growth. Opportunities to learn and grow, interest in the job and the quality of management are top factors for all employees, but more so for younger workers, according to the Harvard Business Review study. Provide an overview of mentoring and training. A nurturing environment with opportunity for advancement provides a competitive edge. Recruiting and retention strategies need to align.

Discuss Company Outreach

Millennials seek an environment where community engagement for positive change is welcomed. A socially responsible workplace appeals to young workers. A 2017 survey by Deloitte showed 76 percent of Millennial respondents say business has the power to make a difference. Opportunities to volunteer or be involved with “good causes” in the community helps Millennials feel like they can make a difference. Eight out of 10 millennials in the Deloitte survey say that their employers are “directly involved in issues of personal concern or are supporting charities.” Millennials also say they are more likely to stay with an employer longer if that company consistently engages in social issues.

Sell State-of-the-Art

This is a generation that has been nurtured on technology and utilizes it in virtually every aspect of their lives. Younger workers will be turned off by a company that lags in its embrace of state-of-the-art tools or embodies a dinosaur culture.

Think Active

Millennials value walkable and bicycle-friendly communities. It would behoove your organization to create or encourage an infrastructure that accommodates that lifestyle both within and outside your company.

Thinking like a Millennial—the fastest growing segment of the workforce—is good for business. Recruiting and retaining them is even better. They bring values, priorities and a progressive outlook necessary for any organization to succeed today and moving forward.

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