The millennial invasion is coming, and it’s possible companies aren’t quite ready to be overrun by Gen Y workers. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, millennials will comprise almost one-half of the workforce by 2015 and 75 percent by 2025.
More than any other generation, Gen Y is made up of job hoppers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average tenure of a millennial in a position is a mere 4.4 years. Perhaps the reason millennials are jumping from company to company is because organizations aren’t keyed into the perks these young workers want the most.
1. Encourage entrepreneurial passion and creativity. According to the March Creative Jobs Report, based on Harris Poll data, 55 percent of the employees surveyed would exit their traditional jobs for a more creative self-employed track. Among millennials 18 to 34, the ratio was even higher: Sixty-seven percent of the millennials surveyed would hand in their resignation and embark on ventures of their own if they thought flying solo could pay the bills.
Millennials are more entrepreneurial and dream of marrying their career to their creative passions. To attract and retain Gen Y talent, companies should foster a culture of innovation.
Take a page from Google’s book and invest in a program like 20 percent time, whereby Googlers can dedicate 20 percent of their time to dreaming up new projects and finding creative solutions to problems.
2. Offer technological innovation. Millennials are digital natives. Research from Nielsen found 83 percent of the millennials surveyed sleep with their smartphones within arm’s reach. Millennials tend to love tech and smart companies will use this to reach out to them.
Social media can be a great way to tell the company story to interested candidates. Firms with a worthwhile program to foster employee creativity should share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Want to make it easier for talent all over the globe to apply for jobs? Use video interviewing to connect personally and quickly with talent near and far.
Once millennials are hired, internal social-media apps, real-time tracking and mobile technology can help these employees stay organized and allow them to work on the go. In fact, 37 percent of millennials claimed mobile technology increased the amount of work they do outside the office, according to Gallup.
3. Grant flexible-time options. Topping the list of most wanted perks for many workers is flexibility: Harris Interactive found 2 out of 5 working adults would be willing to forfeit a portion of their salary if it meant increasing their position's flexibility. A two-year study by PwC determined that if milllennials were able to introduce more flexibility into their current posts, 64 percent would favor sometimes working from home and 66 percent would appreciate an adjustment in their hours.
By 2016, Forrester expects 63 million American workers will telecommute at least partially. Telecommuting not only saves a company on overhead (about $2,000 per employee, according to Stanford University) but it also improves morale. To attract millennial candidates seeking a better balance between their work and personal lives, offer more attractive flexible-time options.
4. Promote giving back. The Creative Jobs Report found 35 percent of millennials surveyed found it important to have a job with a positive social impact, compared with just 19 percent of employed Americans overall. Millennials don’t just want a desk job; they want to save the world.
Millennials will be more likely to stick around if they feel a company's culture is socially responsible and contributing to the community. Not every organization can make striving for a social good an intrinsic part of its mission statement, but there are always ways to give back or to be involved with the local community. Offer company-wide volunteer opportunities or provide workers days off to volunteer. Making social responsibility an important part of a company's culture will not only help others but also aid the organization in attracting talented millennial employees.
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