How to get hiring right in the millennial generation

Millennials represent a group of workers that wants very different things from the work they do and the companies they work for than…

According to professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), over 50 per cent of the world’s working age population will be made up of millennials by 2020. Generally considered to be those born between 1980 and 2000, millennials represent the largest workforce shift since baby boomers entered the workforce in the 1960s.

Millennials represent a group of workers that wants very different things from the work they do and the companies they work for than their predecessors. Surveys show that flexibility, work-life balance and the ability to work collaboratively are priorities for them; when looking for an employer, they want one that will treat them well and give them an opportunity to make a difference with the work they do. Employers looking to hire millennials therefore need to think about how to do this and what it means for their company.

When recruiting, it is important to remember that millennials use technology as part of their everyday lives; therefore, this should be one of your key tools when looking to hire staff from this demographic. Use social media to post and promote jobs and the vision and values of your organisation, letting millennials know not only what you want from them but also what they can expect from you and your organisation. In this way, you are more likely to attract and retain the best candidates; however, in your rush to hire millennials, do not ignore your recruitment practices, such as making sure you hire fairly, carrying out competency-based interviews, and completing thorough reference checks.

You also need to think about how you use technology in the workplace to offer millennials the flexibility and work-life balance they are looking for. Can this be used to support home-working, for example, or to provide professional development opportunities such as online training? Being able to offer such opportunities will make you more attractive to work for and help you to get the best out of your new hires, showing them that you want them to be part of your business in the long term and respect their contribution.

Internally, offering opportunities for home-working, greater flexibility in working hours or professional development might mean you need to update or adapt your current policies and procedures. This is not necessarily a bad thing; however, it should be done in line with HR best practice and fairly across your organisation. Changes should not be made arbitrarily for one group of workers, as this could lead to legal challenges and poor morale, damaging your company’s performance and reputation.

You may also want to look at your corporate structure, as millennials find those that are too rigid difficult to work with. Consider whether you are too hierarchical or too strict in your rules and requirements. If staff do not meet customers, for example, must they wear business attire?

Changes should not be made just for millennials; instead, they should be made for your whole workforce and in line with HR best practice to avoid potential issues further down the line.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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