As global organizations compete to hire the best Millennial talent, they often bet big on digital and social media to reach this always-on generation. Is it a well-researched bet?
Interviewing more than 16,000 Millennials across the globe, Universum asked: What are Millennials’ preferred and trusted sources of career information? And are Millennial parents really so involved in their adult-children’s decision-making?
Millennials have grown up with the Internet and on-demand access to information. They are the first generation to come of age using social media. It’s clear based on how Millennials make connections and share information online, they are simply wired to communicate differently than those who preceded them.
Logically, global organizations seeking to woo this generation of plugged-in, mobile-savvy young professionals are hyper-focused on ramping up their digital content and social media efforts.
And yet anyone who works in content-related fields will tell you it’s becoming harder and harder to win attention online. Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have become so popular that even sophisticated brands struggle to get their messages in front of coveted audiences. Many reports show brand “reach” (i.e. visibility) on Facebook, for example, declined as much as 50 percent in 2014 alone due to changes in Facebook’s algorithms. Even the most experienced social media experts struggle to be seen online as they compete with a massive variety of online content (after all, your employer brand content is competing with everything from other brand content, to cat memes and vacation selfies).
Add to that, many organizations take a siloed approach to digital and social media; the marketing division owns technology, talent, strategy and processes quite apart from HR and recruiting. Marketing has experimented with reaching and engaging their audiences online far longer than their peers in HR, but few organizations have broken the barriers that exist between marketing and HR to share resources and talent.
Should HR and talent leaders focus on playing catch-up? Is winning at digital content and social media the only answer to reach Millennials? (It feels almost like heresy to say otherwise these days.)
Universum set out to question the conventional wisdom about Millennials. What bothered us in particular is the way many organizations treat Millennials as a homogeneous group, regardless of age or nationality. Yes, Millennials are in many ways more global-minded than any generation before; they share musical tastes and fashion trends across regions, for example, in a way that older generations never did. But do 25 year olds in Brazil have the same ideals and longings as those in Thailand? Do Millennials in the Asia-Pacific countries consult parents’ advice to the same extent as those in Latin America? And how can companies make decisions about Millennial talent development without local knowledge of Millennial attitudes?