They are 83.1 million strong and absolutely vital to the future of your workforce. Millennials – those born between 1982 and 2000 — now represent the largest generation in the U.S., comprising more than one quarter of the nation’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And here’s another compelling fact: About 61 percent of adult Millennials have attended college, compared to 46 percent of Baby Boomers, as noted in a White House report.
That document further details, “With the first cohort of Millennials only in their early thirties, most members of this generation are at the beginning of their careers and so will be an important engine of the economy in the decades to come.”
How do you put this force to work for you? Traditional companies will have to adapt. Let us look at some of the way to lure a Millennial:
1. Maximize Total Rewards
When it comes to compensation, get the salary right. If that baseline is competitive, Millennials are greatly influenced by other factors such as how an organization impacts the world, environmental stewardship and technological capabilities. (See our post on “4 Advantage of Millennials Bring to the Workplace”) Additional factors help one employer stand out over other:
- Millennials value flexibility. Lines between their personal and professional lives tend to blur. This may be because many take positions that they care about. Nonetheless, they expect flexible working environments and arrangements. Let them choose to work when they are at their best and you can expect great results.
- The same goes for time off. This generation loves working arrangements that deliver the freedom to enjoy personal time. They are committed to their work when at the office, but a vacation means just that, a vacation.
2. The Loan Factor
Consider what else matters to this generation. Many graduate from college with massive amounts of debt. This is not just a Millennial problem; it is an economic problem with societal implications. Studies show that this burden can cause people to delay starting families and buying homes. Larger portions of these employees' paychecks go to pay student loans than at any time in history. You can make a difference by offering student loan repayment assistance.
Fidelity recently implemented this type of program by kicking in up to $2,000 per year for full-time employees at the manager level and below. For students, the gain is two-fold. First, they have less financial strain to pay back the loan or they can accelerate repayment. Second, the amount the employer pays can go directly to the lender, applied to the principal. This results in interest savings over time.
3. More Jobs, Less Time
If you want to keep Millennials, challenge them. Let them stretch. Give them the freedom to make a difference and grow. Without some of those characteristics, they may not stay long. During their career members of Generation Y may have a dozen or more jobs. This is not something for which they apologize. Their mindset is to develop new skills, step up to challenges and move on for further professional and personal growth.
Hiring managers can expect to adjust their expectations. Five to 10 years in a job is not realistic for this portion of the workforce they have a propensity to job-hop. Meaningful work can counter this trend. Incorporate professional development into their performance planning to encourage longevity. Historically, being a job-hopping candidate was not a good thing. Managers will have to adjust their lenses when hiring. Job-hopping should not be a strike against these folks if they are moving to expand their skills and take on meaningful work.
4. Mobile Benefits
Two of the most important benefits that employers offer are retirement plans and health insurance. Both of these have experienced significant shifts in recent years. Retirement plans have moved from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. More employers are providing high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts (HSA) rather than the low deductible plans of the past. Employers have made these shifts largely for financial reasons.
Employees accustomed to the older plans do not necessarily welcome these changes. On the other hand, Millennials have not been exposed to the old way of doing things. They see value in retirement plans where employers match their contributions. Plus, they like the mobility. The same goes for health savings accounts. They are able to build up accounts throughout their career to use for medical expenses. While many may not appreciate this new approach to benefits, Millennials may seek it out. Given their propensity to move from job to job, increased mobility is a selling point.
Millennials prefer frequent, real-time feedback over annual performance reviews. Discover how GoCo’s modern HR software can help you schedule weekly check-ins to retain your top talent.