Hiring and retaining millenials

Published 6:13 pm Saturday, January 14, 2017

Millenials are generally considered to be individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st Century.

They were born between 1982 and 2004 although some researchers include those born as early as 1976 to 1978. They are sometimes referred to as Generation Y, Generation Me, Net Generation, Echo Boomers and Peter Pan Generation. They directly follow Generation X.

Millenials are currently the largest living generation, surpassing Baby Boomers.  Social Trends reports that as of April 2016, an estimated 69.2 million Millenials (adults age 18 – 35 in 2016) were voting age U. S. Citizens, a number almost equal to the 69.7

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Baby Boomers (ages 52 – 70) in the nation’s electorate. Following is the breakdown of generations with generally accepted birth dates and ages according to Pew Research Center as of 2016.

• Silent/ Greatest Generation — Born 1945 or earlier

• Baby Boomers — Born 1946 to 1964

• Generation X — Born 1965 to 1980

• Millineals ­— Born 1981 to 1998

• Generation Z — Born 1999 to present

Millineals are now the largest generation in the workforce nationwide. Businesses need to have a plan to recruit, hire and retain people in this talented group.

Every business needs a balance of people based on age and gender. Older workers with extensive experience and a valuable historical perspective should be balanced with younger workers. A lopsided or over abundance of any group can be cause for concern when planning for a successful future.

Are you getting your fair share of Millenials in your company? Some of the things you can do to create an environment and culture at a reasonable cost to attract and retain Millenials follow.

1. Create a comfortable workplace.

2. Offer benefits that other businesses may not offer.

3. Offer more vacation/time off.

4. Improve employee health.

5. Provide interesting and challenging work.

6. Communicate up and down frequently.

7. Offer rewarding and enriching training.

8. Provide career path opportunities.

9. Offer rewards and incentives.

10. Make work fun and interesting.

11. Provide educational incentives.

12. Be aware of the “groupie”/ community mentality.

13. Offer flexible working arrangements when possible.

Millenials desire open and honest dialogue on the job. They want to know how to move up, get better and how they can grow. Allow them to discover and practice their strengths within the organization.

They want to try new responsibilities. By empowering them you will encourage them to stick around longer. They want security and variety in their careers. Allow time for growth. Give them feedback regularly. Exhibit that you value their involvement and appreciate their contributions. This doesn’t happen by accident.

It has to be planned with investment of the business’ resources into a design of the work environment and structure that will assist Millenials to learn and challenge themselves. It requires a change in management techniques and some managers don’t want to change and don’t understand why they have to manage this group differently.

This needs to be a priority to ensure managers understand the diverse workforce and how you just can’t manage everyone the same way. Many will just complain that they don’t understand why these workers don’t respond to their antiquated management style. It just doesn’t work.

Millenials want to be proud of the company they work for. They like to work for a company that makes a difference in society, not just make a profit for shareholders.

Giving back to the community is important. Millenials will leave their job if their manager doesn’t recognize their talents. They will leave for more money, a better culture and greater opportunity.

They want competitive benefits and compensation. A lack of retention is a high cost for business. Losing workers puts more pressure on the employees remaining and time to fill is often increased.

Managers often won’t recognize their responsibility in the challenge to understand and manage differently.

A very informative video is available on YouTube.com entitled “Millenials in the Workplace”. It features Simon Sinek discussing traits of Millenials and what they need and want in their careers. It is worth having all your managers and supervisors view it.

A business can get better at hiring, integrating and retaining Millenials into their workforce by focusing on the things outlined above and the ideas covered in the video.

Making changes in your hiring process and workplace to accommodate Millenials will be worth the effort. It will ensure they are an important part of your team and will go a long way toward management of a diverse workforce.

They deserve the opportunity to engage their hearts and minds, and we should figure out how to provide what they need from us to make it happen. It will result in a big win, win.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.