The secret to attracting top Gen Y / Millennial employees

Gen Ys, or “Millennials,” if you prefer, have different values, wants and different perspectives than past generations. And we’re changing the face of the workforce.

No really… we are. By 2025, we’ll take up 75% of it — well along with the generation after us (yet to be named yet).

We know technology, we’re much more open to change than other generations, and we’re on our way to becoming the most educated generation in history. So we wanted to help you learn how to attract millennials to your company?

Companies must adjust to Millennial trends

Companies need to start adjusting to the trends we’re setting or they’ll fail in the race for top talent.  What you’ve done to attract and retain your employees (Gen Xs and Boomers) won’t be as effective on us because Millennials value different things and have different characteristics.

Simply put, we want different things out of our job.

So how can you appeal to Millennials talent? Here’s a few things that small businesses can do to attract, retain and breed great Millennials employees:

1. Communicate your values.

What are your company’s core values? Why does your company exist and what are your employees working toward? Adding a sense of purpose and value to the work your company does really impacts and attracts the Millennial employees that are looking for a job that they know they’ll make a difference in.

Gen Xs and Baby Boomers are known for taking pride in their work and their work ethic, but Millennial’s want more out of their job than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company where they can make a difference in and add value.

Values also play a role in company culture, which Millennial’s take into consideration in their job decision-making process. Great company cultures are built on values. They also breed, attract and retain great employees, too.

2. Be flexible.

Millennials value work/life balance much more than other generations. They saw their parents (many of them are Boomers) slave away at the jobs they really didn’t like and spend more time at the office than at home, and don’t want that for themselves. They want a job where they work to live, not live to work.

So how can you make your company more work/life friendly? Many companies offer employees the opportunity to work remotely to appeal to this. I’ve also heard some companies that enforce strict office hours so they can’t work more than 9 hours (which actually increases daily productivity) and allows them spend more time at home.

Another way to draw their interest in work/life balance is through technology. Social media and mobility are really important to Millennials, and banning use of them at work actually hinders productivity. If you ban them, you’ll scare away some great talent, too. Don’t believe me? Two out of five Millennials say they would take a lower salary in exchange for more flexibility in “device choice, social media access, and mobility.”

3. Let them grow. 

Many companies often hire to just fill a position and don’t think about the employee’s future at their company. Millennials don’t want a dead-end job. They want a job they can continue to grow and thrive in. We love to learn — that’s why in a few years we’ll be the most educated generation yet. Learning motivates us.

How to you adjust for this? Mention any opportunities for growth in the job description — this includes things like training and development programs or opportunities for growth in your company. It’ll make your job stand out from your competition and bring that top talent in.

Do you employ any millennials?  Have you had to adjust to accommodate them? How did you attract millennials to your company? 


Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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