Attracting Millennials in a Tight Market

Different methods are needed to bring young people onto the workforce.

By Alexandra Walsh

Across the board in almost every industry today, the war for talent is heating up and companies are competing harder than ever to attract top talent.

How are they doing it? Social media and workplace benefits are front and center in the conversation on attracting and retaining
talent across all industries.

According to employment research, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill open positions—65% of hiring managers claim talent shortages represent the biggest challenge in hiring.

Namely, as the labor market tightens, managers have been asked to fill more positions offering alternative job arrangements. Many are trying to adopt emerging recruitment technologies which enable them to zero in on candidates for their organizations.

In this jam-packed candidate-driven market, the hiring process is only going to get more challenging, especially if the attention of hiring managers is not directed toward current (and rising) recruitment trends.

The rising millennial workforce is one of the hottest topics when considering the workplace. Not only do millennials have a particular management style, but they are more in tune with modern technologies and are the most socially connected generation of our time. This means workplaces need to evolve to serve the needs of younger generations—which include more flexibility and unique benefits.

▲Employers are focusing on improving employee experience by offering more in-office perks.
▲ Employees view freedom and flexibility as one of the top benefits from companies.
▲ Companies are ditching annual performance reviews altogether in order to evolve their performance management systems to become more agile.
▲ More than one-third of millennials have manager titles or above, which means modern workplaces need to adapt to their unique management style.
▲ Younger generations (Gen Z and millennials) are becoming more loyal by necessity due to financial instability.
▲ Technology is impacting the recruitment process by enabling companies to find candidates instead of the other way around, and candidates are increasingly using social media to find and apply for positions.

Technology and Recruiting

Millennial candidates expect seamless experience, much like the one they are offered when shopping online. So to get the ideal applicant’s attention, recruitment professionals are turning to web marketing solutions.

Effort is put on recruitment marketing and personalizing career sites, as this proves to impact the quality of candidates
a company can reach. Hiring managers focus on collecting data that will be used to create persona-based content they will use to place in front of higher-quality candidates.

Mobile recruitment has represented one of this year’s game-changing hiring trends. In fact, statistics show more than 70% of candidates visit a company’s website via their mobile device to check out career opportunities. Almost 50% use their phones to apply for an open position.

Still, a little more than 13% of companies reported investing in mobile recruitment, so hopping on this wagon soon could drive quality workforce your way. Mobile recruiting is gradually gaining momentum, and by the end of 2017 we’ll see even more job applications designed to be just “one click away.”

Slowly but surely, we’ve come to the point where social platforms are dominating every aspect of our lives, and recruitment is no exception. More than 65% of people say they have used Facebook to search for a job opening, while hiring managers still prefer LinkedIn.

All in all, social media allows you to target people based on their interests and location. There is also a greater chance of getting potential candidates to engage with your job posting. In other words, people can ask questions regarding the job or are able to share it easily with someone they know is suitable for the position.

Speaking Millennials’ Language

Most essential to a recruitment strategy for millennial and Gen Z workers is the way hiring managers communicate with potential employees. Companies should learn to communicate in their language.

Employers should understand these workers are looking for jobs that allow for flexibility, not organizational structure. They are thinking globally, not locally, in terms of how they see their careers advancing. It used to be a stable job with upward mobility was enough, but today there is an added layer of making jobs matter to the greater good.

Allowing more workplace flexibility will give a company a leg up on the competition. Millennials are so comfortable with technology, they can perform in any setting. Millennials want a workplace that feels like a community.

When it comes to managing millennials and Gen Z—think mentoring, not management. Mentoring is a tool for transferring organizational knowledge while supporting, guiding, and teaching. It will assist workers to meet the challenges they find on the job, and identify career growth opportunities.

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Learn More About Hiring Today’s Talent
Check out the feature article from the September issue of WWJ, “Preparing the Next Generation.” The article offers advice in how companies in the groundwater industry can attract and retain millennials. It concludes with advice for young workers getting started in the field.

In the “Web-Only” section of WWJ’s website, an article on how the Internet is a valuable tool to find your next employees is titled “Good Help Hard to Find?

Work Hours Matter

While younger candidates say they are open to accepting another position (a much higher number than employers suspect), 37% of all employees say work hours fitting their needs is a top reason to stay at their current employer. This ranks second only to the work itself (43%).

Discussing your expectations of work hours is a key factor to helping candidates make informed decisions. Although work hours may have a significant impact on employees’ willingness to take or keep a job, many employers never address hours during the recruiting and interviewing process.

Some employers say the time to talk about hours is when new employees are being onboarded, but that may be too late. By waiting until candidates have already been hired to discuss work hours, you may run the risk of hiring people who will soon leave because they didn’t expect the hours you require.

Employers can do better by making work hours a regular part of interviewing and hiring discussions to make sure candidates are on the same page. In addition, since work hours are increasingly important to employees, businesses should regularly revisit their requirements to determine whether changes can or should be made to better meet the needs of workers. If your company offers employees the ability to request changes to their hours, make certain that opportunity is widely known.

Flexibility Matters

Not only are employees interested in work hours, but they also care about flexibility. This flexibility is in regard to time and location, as well as the ability to disconnect from work.

Among employees, 28% say flexibility is a reason to stay with a current job or take a new one, and that percentage is even higher among millennials (32%) and women (31%). More than 70% of employees expect to be able to disconnect when they leave work.

Bridge the divide between your organization and its employees—or potential employees—by making flexibility an important part of your culture. If work can be performed off-site, offer remote work opportunities. Obviously, this is impossible with some positions. Communicate with organizational leaders about the importance of giving employees space to have their own lives rather than expecting them to be available at all hours.

And when recruiting or interviewing job candidates, make your commitment to flexibility known. For instance, discuss flexibility in job interviews and provide information about your flexible work policies on your careers website. This can go a long way toward recruiting and retaining the workforce you need.

Workplace Diversity

The term “workplace diversity” is defined as accepting, understanding, and valuing differences that exist between people of different genders, ages, races, ethnicities, disabilities, and sexual orientations.

In recent years, companies have recognized both social and financial benefits of hiring a diverse workforce, and almost 60% of recruiters said they design their hiring strategies to attract diverse candidates.

In conclusion, we might say a new breed of hiring managers has emerged: one driven by data, technology, diversity, and candidate’s needs.

Though we might still be at the verge of a recruitment breakthrough, it’s safe to say we’re moving in the right direction.

Alexandra Walsh is the vice president of Association Vision, a Washington, D.C.–area communications company. She has extensive experience in management positions with a range of organizations.

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