Becoming a millennial talent magnet

by Contributor20 Jul 2017

Some employers are still struggling to adjust their recruitment approaches to attract the best talent from what will soon be the most dominant workforce demographic

Today, every employee is a digital employee. However, the term could have been invented solely to describe millennials. For those born between 1981 and 2000, the flexible, data-driven experiences they’ve encountered for most of their lives mean that their expectations as consumers – and employees – have shifted.

Why should employers care about this shift? For one thing, according to Galaxy Research,* millennials will make up half the Australian workforce by 2021 and a staggering 75% by 2025. This research from Galaxy reveals further interesting insights about this working generation.

First, the downside. Millennials present a challenge to traditional recruiters because:

  • They swap jobs at double the speed of their predecessors. The hiring half-life for millennials averages 3.4 years, compared to 7.3 years for baby boomers and 5.8 years for Gen X.
  • 15% of millennials average less than two years in a position, compared to 1% of baby boomers and 6% of Gen X.
  • 10% of millennials try to stay no longer than two years with an employer, with 7% attempting to cap their contracts.

While it’s easy to criticise the hype around just how ‘different’ millennials are from previous generations, and it’s important not to fall into identifying people by generational stereotypes, it’s also critical to acknowledge that employees’ needs and preferences are changing due to the influence of technology in our personal and professional environments.

For example, consider the following:

  • Employees are constantly distracted (eg by email, IM, social networks, meetings).
  • Attention spans are diminished and are being measured in minutes and seconds.
  • Work is happening across multiple locations (eg homes, satellite offices, customer sites, overseas locations).
  • Workers are becoming more collaborative and are looking towards peers and professional networks to gain and share knowledge and best practices.
  • How people undertake L&D has changed. According to one study,^ 91.5% of surveyed employees stated that they had used e-learning of some kind at work and 74.9% stated that online learning leads to higher employee satisfaction.
  • With a wide array of tools at their fingertips (eg MOOCs, social networks, the internet), millennials are empowered to seek answers and knowledge on their own.

The influence of technology is also apparent in how employers attract and recruit talent – and, as always, the employer brand is playing a critical role in this social media-driven digital era.

Building the brand
Attracting prime millennials to your company brand is a question of understanding what motivates them, tapping into their concerns and utilising their strengths.

“The way an organisation is perceived by jobseekers via its employer brand is an important element to attract talent,” says Olivier Pestel, Senior Director Solution Consulting and Business Development, Asia Pacific Japan, at Cornerstone OnDemand.

He adds that, in an age in which information is widely accessible, tech-savvy candidates are able to review their future employers in all areas of reputation – from interviewing and hiring practices via platforms such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn, through to their values, demonstration of corporate social responsibility, or even their internal culture.

“More specifically in regard to millennials, an employee-centric approach connects with the millennial desire to shape their own future and empower the individual with purpose and development,” says Pestel.

Switched-on companies are meeting millennials halfway, negotiating jobs and working conditions that suit their more agile way of working. They are also ensuring the following elements are emphasised in their employer brands:

  • Mobility – Mobile technology, 24/7 availability of information, and social learning are a boon for contemporary employers keen to meet the tech-savvy millennial demand for interactive, responsive and genuinely engaging forms of learning and development.
  • Flexibility – The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 reveals that 84% of millennials report that their workplaces offer flexible work conditions, with 39% saying they have highly flexible work environments. They believe this encourages greater productivity and staff engagement, as well as promoting individual health and happiness. Flexible workplaces also greatly enhance staff loyalty, the survey reveals, as well as making workers two and a half times more likely to feel that flexible work practices positively impact the company’s financial performance.
  • Social purpose – The Deloitte research also revealed the importance of socially conscious workplaces to Gen Y:
- More than half of those surveyed said they were given the opportunity to contribute to charities and worthwhile causes in the workplace.
- Those given these opportunities showed greater levels of loyalty to their employers.
- Millennials intended to stay longer with employers who engaged with social issues like education, unemployment, and healthcare.

More than any generation before, the millennial generation is driven by information and storytelling, and that means a company’s online presence must provide a transparent view into its mission, products, values, culture and future plans.

“From a 360-degree office view to quick video profiles of your employees, strong social media branding and messaging will help connect you to millennial candidates,” says Pestel. “Your website, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook – all of these platforms should tell a cohesive story about what it’s like to work for you.”

For many organisations, this leads to how digital is transforming their existing processes and content. It’s not about creating something new out of legacy but about defining and designing new content and interactions – for instance, defining your mobile strategy.

BUILDING AND SELLING YOUR COMPANY BRAND
Once your company culture is defined, employers can begin targeting the candidates who will bring the most value to their businesses. Olivier Pestel suggests: “Use your website, social media channels and internal job boards to both show and tell the story of your brand via text, image and video – offering a genuine glimpse into your company from the shop floor to the executive suite.”

An employer’s aim should be to win candidates looking for flexible, creative, contemporary workplaces; demonstrate a far-reaching social network via LinkedIn, Seek and Facebook; tell candidates about the company’s culture, company vision, senior leader perspectives, global presence and potential for learning, upskilling and career growth; offer exciting career pages via job postings with, for instance, branded video.

Pulling it all together
Stepping back, rethinking and redesigning processes can even extend to how employers are assessing candidates. Privacy laws notwithstanding, a candidate’s digital footprint is public information and is increasingly being checked by recruiters and managers.

“Social media profiles often offer you more information than you would get on a résumé,” says Pestel. “Reviewing a candidate’s digital footprint across platforms can provide you with a sense of their personality and interests.”

Employers – particularly those with strategic objectives tied to profile-raising and business development – will also increasingly look at the ‘social capital’ of candidates. That is, those who have the most ‘reach’, who can ‘trade’ off their social profiles via thought leadership content.

“Effective social media use can also reveal a lot about a person’s confidence. The professional networks and relationships they build, and the ability to make and share insightful comments and opinions, could impact positively in the selection process for the right candidate,” Pestel adds.

THE MILLENNIAL MINDSET
Employers specifically targeting millennials should be focusing on:

• A personal approach. Two thirds (65%) of surveyed* millennials said they would stay longer with an employer who showed a personal interest in their work and asked them what would enhance their job.
• Money motivation. Financial reward emerged as a top motivator for 84% of millennials, compared to 69% of baby boomers and 75% of Gen X.
• Passion and performance. If it doesn’t feel good, millennials tend to move on. Around 60% left a position within one year of feeling they were no longer achieving peak performance – with 32% leaving within three months.
• Career development. Two-thirds of millennials practise strategic swapping – choosing to stay with an employer as long as they are still undertaking the necessary training and acquiring the vital skills to advance their careers.

*Source: Motivating Millennials: Managing Tomorrow’s Workforce, Today, by Galaxy Research and Kronos Australia

Time for a rethink
While technology has changed the way employees interact with and engage with their employers, it can also provide solutions to attracting and retaining the best talent, regardless of age – but especially millennial talent. Perhaps it’s time to rethink how your organisation is serving employees and start delivering on the digital employee experience, from attraction through to all stages of the employee life cycle.

Cornerstone’s Recruiting Suite can redefine the way you source and onboard top people via the cloud – for faster, streamlined talent management that embraces the future. Using social network and résumé integration, these systems allow employers to build talent pools of internal and external staff, along with the development of training, assessment and collaboration models. These systems can provide insights into areas such as skill gaps and talent pipelines; centralised collection and analysis of candidate data; streamlined application processes; and identification of core values and key competencies.

Sources:
*Motivating Millennials: Managing Tomorrow’s Workforce, Today, by Galaxy Research and Kronos Australia; ^Global Journal of Business Research, Volume 8, Number 4, 2014, “Corporate Elearning Impact on Employees”, by Prince F. Ellis, Brown Mackie College, Cincinnati, and Kevin D. Kuznia, Ashford University

CORNERSTONE ONDEMAND
Cornerstone OnDemand is pioneering solutions to help organisations realise the potential of the modern workforce. As the global leader in cloud-based learning and human capital management software, Cornerstone is designed to enable a lifetime of learning and development that is fundamental to the growth of employees and organisations. www.cornerstoneondemand.com.au

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