January 16, 2020

How to Attract and Retain Millennial Talent

As an influx of millennial candidates continue to enter the workforce, it is imperative that companies adapt and change with the times. Yet, as with any major workforce shifts, trials and tribulations will occur. Determining the best methods to not only attract, but also retain this group of employees is a key to the success of all businesses.


Figuring out what any potential candidate values most in a career can be a difficult process, especially with such a major shift in demographics. Kaytie Zimmerman, of Forbes.com, has spent years researching and writing about millennials, and she believes their ideals and wishes are much more reasonable than most have been led to believe. Many of the stereotypes linked to millennials, simply don’t apply to the factors they use when choosing where to work.


Benefits are a top priority for millennials seeking employment. A 2017 survey done by Capital Group Companies, interviewed more than 12,000 investors and found that 80% of millennials believe employers should provide some form of retirement savings plan. Furthermore, the survey results showed that just over a third of millennials believe a college savings plan or tuition reimbursement should also be available. The survey also found that the three most essential benefits in the eyes of millennial candidates are: health insurance, a matching 401K, and vacation time.


As millennials continue the search for potential career opportunities, they place an added emphasis on culture. An annual study conducted by the American Society of Employers, revealed that millennial candidates value career growth and the work environment more so than compensation. When it comes to culture, flexibility, social impact, and the opportunity for growth seem to be at the top of the list. Sarah Landrum of Forbes.com, states that today’s millennial workers value a schedule outside the norm of typical nine to five. Allowing for opportunities to work from home or a schedule that allows a healthy work-life balance is key.

Studies done by both Forbes and American Society of Employers reveal there is also an added emphasis being placed on social impact. The millennial generation values opportunities to give back and to positively impact their communities. The opportunity to give back has become easier than ever with innovative impact groups such as 100millenialswhocare.com and 100businesseswhocare.com.

These groups are efficient, impactful and provide networking opportunities, as an added bonus. Thanks to innovative organizations and non-profits who are effectively partnering with the business community, the opportunity to do good is now more achievable than ever, while also serving as a great tool to attract millennial candidates.  A company’s active role in making a social impact, building a strong culture and fostering an environment that is appealing to millennial candidates is key to attracting the top talent.


It is becoming clear for millennials that compensation may not necessarily be the most important driving factor when they are evaluating a career opportunity. Yet, these workers know their worth and want it to be acknowledged. Timely promotions, benefit packages, and creative investment opportunities are innovative ways to show employees that they are valued, while also increasing the overall total compensation package.


Culture and leadership style go hand-in-hand, and with an added emphasis placed on culture, employers and companies alike must start to consider whether their leadership style fits the demands of millennial candidates. Charlie Westra of dbusiness.com, knows that millennial candidates’ value clear and effective communication. Therefore, the key to high quality leadership is placing an added emphasis on the importance of one’s communication style. Employers of a different generations must make sure they are taking the time to adjust their communication to fit that of their potential employees. Effectively communicating gratitude and appreciation will show an employee their work is valued, resulting in an inspired work ethic.


As the millennial demographic of job candidates continue to emerge, reaching these individuals require efforts different from previous generations. Millennials and technology go hand-in-hand and taking advantage of these innovations are key. Social media marketing is a great way to connect with millennial candidates. The Pew Research Center of Internet and Technology show that at least 80% of millennials engage in some form of social media use every single day, providing an efficient way to reach a very large pool of potential candidates. Yet, capitalizing on the use of technology doesn’t stop there. Dedicating resources to mobile marketing is a great way to get ahead of the curve. A study done by Inc.com, shows that over one billion job searches are taking place on mobile phones every month, yet the vast majority of companies are failing to properly invest in mobile marketing. It is important to show that your company is innovative, using cameras attached to your computer or phone is an excellent and easy way to do so. The use of authentic videos can connect you with candidates, while also showing that your company is adapting with the times


Once you have landed that ideal millennial candidate, retaining his/her services can be a challenge. According to the American Society of Employers, a study done by Gallup revealed that 60% of current millennial employees are open to the idea of a new job, right now. So, what can be done to keep the talented individual you just hired? Setting a career path may seem like a great place to start, as a Gallup study revealed that 87% of millennials feel career development is crucial to their job. Yet, promising a defined career path in the traditional sense can come with risks. It is important to avoid promises you can’t keep. While the promise of a defined career path may provide immediate gratification, predicting the future is impossible and that potentially false promise may end up doing more harm than good.

Being an active and engaged leader will let your employees know they are heard and valued, allowing for confidence that their role will develop naturally. Another great idea is the recent trend of “stay interviews.” Instead of sitting down for an exit interview when it’s too late, take the time to sit with your employee to find out what has been working and what needs some adjusting. In a similar fashion, “reverse mentoring” has become another popular trend. Reverse mentoring flips the traditional mentor/mentee role and allows for the younger staff to openly share their views on changes that could be beneficial. This allows for older mentors to gain key insight they may not have been aware of, while also displaying an innovative thought process that lets all employees know their thoughts are valued, regardless of age.

The key is staying true to the very same ideals that attracted the candidate in the first place. Whether it be delivering on the cultural ideas you promised or being consistent with compensation and benefit opportunities that initially attracted the candidate. The same ideals that these millennial candidates value today, go a long way in keeping their engagement. Focusing on flexible schedules, work-life balance, strong leadership and proper gratitude can be key to keeping a valuable employee.


How does this change of demographics impact the rest of the workforce? With millennials accounting for vast the majority of the workforce in coming years, companies must adapt and change their ways. Yet, that is nothing new. The workforce is constantly facing changes and a strong company should not only be willing to change but should try and stay one step ahead. Whether it’s the added emphasis on culture, the adaptation of flexible schedules, or the influence of technology, these factors simply represent a change in time, and that’s okay!

Purple Squirrel Advisors