I have been recruiting, interviewing and placing Millennials for the past several years. Several of my clients (all employers) have raised concerns to me about hiring and retaining them. Below, some of what I have learned about Millennials and the workplace;
Technology: Millennials did not learn and become interested in technology – they don’t know a life without technology. They grew up with it and know no other world. As such, asking them about general computer skills, for example, is not relevant. In fact, they look at you kind of funny if you ask. They didn’t write their papers in high school – they typed their papers in high school. They are current on technology…they are connected 24/7 and they know the latest and greatest. Millennials are not using Facebook as much any more…they have already moved on to the next thing (interestingly, it is their parents who are still going strong on Facebook). This rapid adoption of technology is here to stay, so don’t worry about whether or not they are current or will be keeping current.
Keeping them engaged in their job: To retain your Millennials, make sure to keep them busy with interesting projects. They grew up playing video games learning that once you complete a level, you move to another level. This is what keeps them engaged. While it is not necessary for an employer to give a Millennial a raise or promotion every time they have successfully completed something, it is key that they continue to get new things to work on. If not, they will get bored – in their minds, it would be like completing a level in the video game and not being allowed to move to the next ‘challenge’.
Length of stay with each employer: Expect your Millennial to stay 18 months to 3 years. If they stay longer, great! They don’t see a problem moving around and when you are hiring one, don’t be so fast to dismiss the ones with this type of track record. They may be excellent at what they do. While hiring/replacing is expensive, there is simply no guarantee they will stay longer, according to what their track record looks like thus far, at least in the North American market.
Definition of ‘hard worker’: To Gen X and Boomers, ‘hard work’ means doing what it takes to get something done. Period. To Millennials, it seems to mean something slightly different. Given Gen X/Boomers have been talking about work/life balance for the past 25+years (approximately), it should come as no surprise that Millennials want to work hard but not compromise their personal life. We taught them to think that way. So, they will work very hard when they are working, but their job will not consume their life like we have seen in previous generations.
Gen X/Boomers cannot change Millennials, but understanding and accepting how Millennials operates and why, when recruiting, interviewing and hiring may make the process a little easier.