On November 9-10, Paycor hosted its ninth annual HR Web Summit featuring sessions on a variety of topics ranging from the Department of Labor, Form I-9 and EEO-1 Report changes to common trends within the HR industry. The article below details the rise of millennials in the workforce and tips employers can use to engage this emerging group.
Millennials are on the rise. Born between 1978 and 1996, this group of young professionals have surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation in America, and by 2020 they will make up 50% of the workforce. As more young professionals start families later in life, the lifespan of a “generation” is getting even longer. That means the Millennials are here to stay.
Millennials are different. Millennials were raised differently and they have different habits, strengths, and expectations when it comes to work and employment. The Baby Boomers (born before 1964) formed their identity around their careers and used emerging technologies to enhance their jobs. Generation X (born between 1965-1977) were latchkey kids who preferred to work autonomously, and they came to expect telecommuting as part of their work/life balance.
Millennials expect a high level of direction, positive reinforcement, and diverse workplaces. Technology is a fully integrated part of their lives. They come from high schools and colleges with community service requirements, and while more of them played school sports than previous generations, the rules were sometimes different. Soccer teams didn’t have goalies, no one kept score, and everyone got a trophy at the end of the game. That doesn’t mean their way is better or worse than what came before -- but it’s different.
Millennials value change agents. Millennials are more socially engaged than previous generations and they expect their companies to be, too. They came of age when Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employment were the norm, and they expect diverse workplaces. If everyone in your company looks, acts, and dresses the same, your potential Millennial employee may back away slowly. And a green work environment isn’t just enticing -- it’s expected.
Millennials are checking you out, too. Millennials live online and expect you to as well. Is your website clear, modern, and inviting? Does it not only list job openings, but also present your company’s commitment to social responsibility? Do you know what your current and past employees are saying about you on GlassDoor? Millennials will check your social media feeds before they even apply, so make sure you know what your internet footprint looks like.
Millennials value flexibility. Millennials expect PTO or flex-schedules over sick days or vacation time. They learn best in fast-moving, group-based training programs. They change jobs and employers every 2-3 years, so if you expect them to conform to “how it’s always been done,” they’ll simply move on.
Millennials want to be challenged. Millennials have higher self-esteem than previous generations. They’re loyal to leaders, not companies, and they value partnerships over mentorships. Give them specifics when you coach their performance, and ask them to critique you, too. Recognition isn’t always financial. Set clear expectations, always focus on maintaining the relationship, and stay flexible.
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