An overwhelming majority of millennials aren't terribly interested in their existing jobs, according to new research. In fact, 71 % of employees born between 1980 and 1996 recently said that they are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.
It will come as no surprise that disengaged employees are usually short-timers. Nearly half of them (47%) strongly agree that they will switch jobs during the next 12 months, provided that the overall employment picture brightens further.
Though troubling, it's vital that employers pay careful attention to this generation, the largest living in the United States today. They will represent about half the workforce in just three years. (And the cohort behind them, Generation Z, will likely exhibit many of the same preferences as millennials.)
So, just as I did last month at the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference in San Francisco, I'd like to share some ideas about how you and your company can improve when it comes to recruiting and retaining millennials.
The two vital concepts to keep in mind are personalization and impact.
Let's Get Personal
We've all heard the stereotypes: Raised at the altar of self-esteem, every millennial believes he or she is a special snowflake – and has a closet-full of participation trophies to prove it. As a millennial myself, I take issue with that. But it's true that millennials want (and expect) most everything in their lives to be tailored to their unique interests and needs – from their social media feeds to their shopping and entertainment experiences.
That doesn't necessarily make them self-absorbed. Instead, it makes them the product of a world where companies such as Amazon and Netflix have figured out how to cater to each of them as individuals. Think about it. When you buy a book from Amazon or watch a movie on Netflix, you'll see a list of suggested titles that is insightfully responsive to your particular selection – not just more dramas or comedies but more Sandra Bullock rom-coms, or period dramas about the Civil War. And the recommendations grow ever more refined and nuanced with each purchase.
Millennials expect every experience in their lives to be like that, including their job search. So why not develop a more personalized recruiting process? Approach millennials as "consumers of the workplace," which is how they're described by the demographic experts in the Harvard Business Review article that I linked to above.
That means thinking about your careers page and other recruiting efforts with the mind of a marketer. It's not just about job titles and descriptions anymore. It's about forming relationships with potential recruits and helping them to establish a connection to your brand as an employer.
This may be a new way of thinking for some organizations, but it's not revolutionary. Companies such as Smashfly are already paving the way for this kind of recruitment marketing experience.
What Millennials Want Most
All of that said, what is it that millennials most want to hear from potential employers?
In many ways, millennials want the same things from their work lives as other generations: growth opportunities, great managers, good pay, and jobs that are well-suited for their talents and interests.
What distinguishes them is their desire to know that they're making a meaningful impact on their organizations and on the world at large. For employers, that means investing time and thought into helping recruits and existing employees understand the value of what they do – and perhaps more importantly, their path to growing their impact over time.
This obviously takes effort. But the alternative is to plop them in a cube or at a counter and forget about their needs, wants, and interests. That's what many employers have done for years. With millennials, that's a rather reliable formula for a resignation letter and yet another help wanted posting.
We obviously believe that having deep insight into each of your recruits' unique personalities will be invaluable to your efforts to communicate in a personalized way, and to match them (as well your current employees) to jobs where they'll have maximal impact. To see how our unique visual personality assessment solution can help you find and manage perfect-fit employees, just request a demo.
And for anyone that didn't make it to my talk in San Francisco, be sure to check out this hilarious video about Millennials I used to close out my session.