Millennials make up the largest generation currently alive. The U.S. holds 80 million millennials right now, and in a decade, they’ll make up three-quarters of the workforce. They’ve outnumbered the baby boomers, and many have reached, or are about to reach, adulthood. Gen Y is starting to surge through the workforce, bringing with it a new way of thinking and a whole lot of technology.
That new way of thinking can make grabbing the attention of these digital-minded folks a challenge, especially when it comes to the workforce. Many prefer nontraditional ways of job hunting, compared to the baby boomers. They also look for high levels of engagement from potential employers and a different approach to work-life balance.
Here are four ways to make engaging with millennials a little easier and more effective:
Job sites aren’t the only place Gen Y is job-hunting. Because millennials spend so much time on social platforms, these channels are the ideal spots to reach them. But not all social networks are created equal. Some of the most helpful ones include:
Facebook is the best place to begin engaging with millennials, because 88 percent of them still use it to find information. Successful communication on Facebook goes beyond posting job listings. Brands need to strive for engagement through tagging other brands and users with the “@” function, posting useful tips and advice for millennials, and sharing content outside of their own.
Thirty-three percent of the members of Generation Y gather information from Twitter, making it another valuable go-to for talent attraction. While tweeting out job listings works, utilizing hashtags in those tweets can lead to twice the engagement as not incorporating hashtags. However, those working in employer branding shouldn’t go too crazy. Tweets with more than two hashtags receive 17 percent less engagement.
Instagram may not seem like a natural channel for attracting or recruiting new talent, but half of millennials use the platform and more than one-quarter use it to dig up information. They’re more likely to get excited about working for a company that looks like a cool, trendy place to work than one without a presence on the social outlet. Instagram is another good spot to reap the benefits of hashtags, and it can be a good tool for offering behind-the-scenes shots of exciting events or even goofy times in the office.
Millennials catch a lot of flack for their “me” attitude, but that’s all a little misunderstood — and employers can actually use it to their advantage to both attract and retain Gen Y employees. Unlike their parents, millennials are looking for jobs that don’t feel like regular nine-to-five ones. In fact, over 80 percent of them feel that they should be able to create their own work schedules. Only 69 percent of boomers feel that way. They also love the idea of working remotely. They want to be able to work when they want to work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean work won’t get done. Companies that offer this kind of flexibility should flaunt it in job descriptions and discussions when communicating with Gen Y candidates. It’s a factor that can dramatically help attract and keep a younger workforce. Plus, it may be wise to ditch stuffy dress codes. Nearly 80 percent of those in Gen Y want the option to wear jeans every day — a novel concept to many of the generations before them.
The thing about millennials is that they’re not in it for the money. Ninety percent look for fun, social vibes in their work environment, and young workers would prefer a job they love to one with a lot of cash. Finances were far more important to the Baby Boomers, so this is a big shift in the recruitment industry.
As a result, those looking to attract younger talent need to advertise more than a high salary. Advertising flexible schedules and engaging on social are great starts, but there are plenty of other ways to grab potential workers’ attention. Try incorporating humor, like in this ad for a graphic designer, in which the company asks the applicants to spot the mistakes in the listing. This witty Apple job listing tells recruits to close their windows and open a few doors. This clever recruitment ad for a computer engineer claims it’s looking for those who like to solve problems — and then lists the contact number as a complex math equation. While this type of approach certainly wouldn’t appeal to all future employees, it would appeal to the type they’re looking for, while also implying a good sense of workplace humor.
If they’re used to employing an older generation, companies looking to expand their millennial population need to be prepared to change the way they function. Millennials thrive on feedback. Three-quarters of them desire a mentor and 80 percent want consistent feedback from their boss or manager. They need to hear both what they’re doing correctly, and where there’s room from improvement. Plus, they highly value transparency from those leaders. By implementing these standards, employers stand a better chance of hanging onto an age group notorious for job-hopping.
The bottom line: Millennials have a new approach when it comes to work. They’re looking for a fast-moving, highly engaging career they can form to fit their own wants and needs. The best way to communicate and keep them is for employers to center their searches around the traits that make Gen Y tick.