Recruiting and Retaining the Next Generation

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A lot has been written about the differences in the generations, especially in the workplace. They have a lot more differences than just age. Lifestyle, life experience, work ethic, company loyalty—and the list goes on. With the Gen X’ers and Y’ers aging, the newest group to take the spotlight is the millennials. Hiring managers talk about the differences as if there was a choice in whether to hire them or not. The fact is it’s not a matter of choice. 


According to a Forbes article, “How To Attract—And Keep—Millennials,” 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day. The Baby Boomers will continue to turn 65 and retire at the same rate for the next 20 years. Their replacements? The Millennials. Hundreds of thousands of millennials graduate from high school and college every year. They are going to be the workers, supervisors and managers of the future. To ensure a promising future, companies need to know how to recruit and keep the best of the millennials to keep their companies running and thriving.


Attracting and retaining millennial employees means adapting company policies, work environment and culture to fit the needs and desires of this young generation.  According to the article, millennials are difficult to hire. With an unemployment rate at only 7.7 percent, they are very choosy who they work for and where they share their talent and technical expertise. 


They also don’t worry about the stigma their Baby Boomer counterparts felt by changing jobs. They don’t subscribe to the term “job hopper,” even though they average a new job every 3.2 years. In reality, it can be more often, since opportunity is more important than company loyalty.


While a pension plan, benefits and salary may have been at the top of the list for Baby Boomers, Millennials are more interested in company values, community commitment, career advancement and the opportunity to add new experiences or skills to a resume. 


Millennials are not impressed by slick advertising, big buildings, corner offices or the whether a company is on the Fortune 1000, 500 or 100 lists. They are looking for authenticity. Job descriptions can be boring. The article suggests having some fun with job descriptions. Be creative.


Baby Boomers aimed to please, and were good at following policies and procedures. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t take instruction well, and criticisms even less. They consider everyone a peer, are used to playing on teams and doing school projects with teachers and their parents from kindergarten on up. They aren’t impressed with titles and tenure. Used to winning at everything, they consider their ideas and input just as good (or even more creative and relevant) than their older counterparts. And they aren’t shy about speaking their minds.


Bosses won’t be successful managers. Millennials value mentors from whom they can learn and grow. With this generation, connecting is important. They are obsessed with social media—making connections on LinkedIn, friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. The workplace is about building relationships, making the personal contact that is missing on social media. 


Millennials are the future, and learning how to recruit and retain these talented workers isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. Trying to make them adapt to the old management styles won’t work. They are smart, savvy, mobile, and they have the skills and talents that companies have to have to stay alive. Before they start to look for greener pastures, find ways to make their jobs rewarding and relevant.  


Photo Source: David Castillo Dominici /


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