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What Matters to Millennials in the Talent Attraction Equation

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n 2020, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be made up of Millennials. By 2030, this number will increase to 75 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s no secret that Millennials have completely transformed the workplace. Yet, attracting them remains one of HR’s biggest challenges. Here are some ways that companies are adjusting to attract and retain this talented generation of workers.

Build an authentic market reputation

Before even applying for a job, the Millennial candidate will consider an organization’s employer culture and brand first. They will visit the company’s website and social media accounts. Then check platforms like Indeed, Twitter, and Glassdoor for impressions on the company’s culture. These employer review websites make it nearly impossible for a company to fabricate an employee’s experience, making employee engagement a top priority.

Even more, market brand and reputation have the most influence on a Millennial’s impression of an organization. They want to know what sets a company apart from the rest and gravitate towards a higher purpose in their career choices.

Streamline the application process

The majority of Millennial job seekers will use a mobile device to search and apply for a new job. Since this generation was raised in a digital world, they are accustomed to online experiences that are intuitive and uncomplicated. In response, companies are moving to a mobile-friendly and efficient application process. This can include shorter forms, autofill features, and the ability to link to information from sources such as LinkedIn.

Let the employee lead career development

Millennials also crave opportunities for growth. Employers are moving away from the traditional top-down development structure, and are instead encouraging employees to take control of their own internal career paths. This creates a journey of self-improvement, with content personalized by each employee and done at their own pace, based on their own developmental needs and interests. Employees tend to stay with a company longer if they feel their company is invested in their career development.

Say goodbye to the annual review

Millennials want feedback, mentoring, and support. While some may view this as needy or dependent, asking for continuous feedback is actually quite strategic. Millennials are constantly thinking about what they need to do to be successful, and in turn, ask for feedback. In response, companies are turning to a continuous performance approach, which can include providing daily feedback. This structure takes away the focus on past performance while setting goals for the future and aligning expectations.

Personalize benefits

Companies know how important it is to align rewards with performance in order to increase employee engagement. Instead of the usual bonus that accompanies the annual performance review, companies are offering personalized benefits that respond to real-time performance.

Flexible, personalized benefits such as giving employees time to pick up their children from school, a day off to volunteer, or a mental health day are widely appreciated. Companies are also being reminded not to underestimate the power of recognition. Employees who receive regular small rewards tend to have more drive and are more engaged than those who receive only an annual recognition.

Hire for transferrable talent

In efforts to attract employees in a competitive market, employers are now hiring “transferrable talent”, where employees are hired for a position that may not even exist yet. Companies will hire first and determine a position and salary for their new employee after they are on board. This strategy often helps companies secure talent ahead of their competitors by focusing on a person’s raw talent instead of solely on job duties. The company will first identify a person’s transferrable and needed internal talent, such as problem solving, then find a job that puts those talents to work.

Adjust the approach to build a winning team

Attracting talent is particularly difficult now because Millennials require a different approach compared to previous generations. They want processes that fit into their busy lifestyles, and they want authenticity along with personalization. They want to grow their careers in ways that suit them, and they want be rewarded in ways that are relevant to their lives. Organizations that provide the working conditions Millennials are looking for will benefit from a generation that will work hard, stay long term. In the end, these key adjustments will add up to a winning environment for everyone.

Christy Plummer serves as Office Manager with Ginovus.