How to attract and retain millennial talent

It’s the buzzword of a generation and was coined Oxford English Dictionary’s ‘word of the year’ in 2017. Millennial. The ‘Gen-Y’ talent pool is brimming, and you would be foolish to overlook it.

They may spend their money on avocados and Instragrammable gym gear, but they are also a hardy bunch. Where Baby Boomers segued into home ownership relatively smoothly, millennials need to work extra hard and for much longer to stump up a deposit. They have families later in life and therefore dedicate more years to their early careers. This resilience pays dividends in their work ethic and the workplace.

But how can businesses attract – and retain – millennials?

It’s a culture thing

A solid salary will attract many, but millennials seek something more. It’s time to update the work culture.

And we’re not talking a team building day resulting in empty words on a page. Real culture change will invigorate the whole workforce, reduce staff turnover and attract new talent with fresh ideas.

Today we can make calls, transfer funds, respond to emails and run organisations from anywhere in the world, at any time. So why do so many still work at a desktop PC between 9am-5pm? Research from CIPD shows that introducing flexible working  increases productivity. One brand marketing company introduced unlimited holidays in 2014. It resulted in reduced levels of sickness, business growth and increased creativity and productivity. It won’t work for every organisation, but adopting a more collaborative culture will.

Flexible working could be as radical as unlimited holidays, or as incremental as hot-desking or permitting occasional working from home days. Employees who are given more freedom are more likely to spend more time working. They don’t feel trapped between four walls all day, they feel freer.

Collaboration increases skillsets and confidence, and strengthens employee relationships. Millennials – like anyone – will be far less likely to leave a role if they are working with people they consider friends.

Make sure CXOs are communicating with all members of staff. Breaking down such barriers will make everyone feel like a pivotal part of a well-oiled machine.

Changing culture is not easy. However lots of smaller stepping stone changes will soon add up to a big improvement. It’s good for existing staff, it’s good for attracting millennials and it’s good to minimise staff turnover. What’s not to love?

Many spend more weekday time at work than they do with their loved ones, so why not make it great?

Workplace with benefits

Bringing in perks can really attract more millennials and their talents – and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Linking closely with culture, the range of benefits on offer at a company can speak volumes about the kind of environment it is. Because millennials are lifestyle-oriented (from Instagramming their morning coffee to live-streaming their workout) it is highly likely that their workplace will appear on their feed – consider this free advertising for the next intake of young talent!

It sounds irrelevant to the workplace, right? Wrong. Happy employees are motivated employees, delivering increased productivity and creativity, making one happy employer… it’s the work circle of work life!

Free gym memberships or protein powder are cost-effective but all-important lifestyle enriching incentives that millennials will lap up. Employers can also reap the rewards of fewer sick days from a healthier team. Logistical perks such as subsidised travel or state of the art tech work just as well as more leftfield options like free monthly massage appointments, a beer fridge or Netflix subscriptions.

By fixing the culture and the perks, employers will soon have a healthier, happier workplace that is low on staff turnover, and high on success.

Make a difference

It’s not all freebies and friends, many millennials want to make a difference to the wider world. Consider paid leave days allowing employees to volunteer at a cause close to their hearts, or help them achieve their goals outside of work.

Provide the right opportunities

Today’s 20-somethings will be lucky to be homeowners by their 30th birthday, many millennials prioritise their careers in the same period where previous generations might have prioritised their new families.

If every role has an achievable career progression path, young talent will be much more likely to invest in a company. Similarly, providing career development or training demonstrates real investment and belief in employees, so they’ll be more likely to stick around.

Ultimately, millennials are not too dissimilar to the younger set of any other generation. They are simply working with the cards they have been dealt. In such a highly competitive business landscape, it is crucial to avoid stagnation. Millennial talent is important to keep businesses fresh and relevant.