7 keys to recruiting and retaining talented millennials

This burgeoning demographic is outgrowing any negative stereotypes and propelling the modern workplace toward new horizons. Here’s how to attract, engage and keep them.

Millennials make up 35 percent of the workforce. In 2020, that number will soar to 50 percent.

Now more than ever, organizations are making their workplaces as great as possible to attract and retain millennials. Although perks, benefits and flexibility are enough for some employees, the growing influx of millennials to the workforce requires deeper incentives.

According to The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, millennials express little loyalty to their current employers and are planning near-term exits.

How do you keep this growing population of talent interested in your company? You keep them engaged. You define your company values and stick to them. You put them first. You give them a voice.

Listen to what they have to say.

Millennials are looking for employers who put employees first and who have a solid foundation of trust and integrity. To provide those elements, open the lines of communication. Listen to them.

Institute one-on-one meetings with your employees at least once a quarter, and listen to what they have to say. Implement an engagement program using idea software to receive their feedback and ideas. Prove to them that they have a voice in the future of the company.

Prove that you don’t care only about profits.

Millennials are not impressed by the size, age or general buzz surrounding an organization. Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.

How is your company improving society? How does it treat its employees and customers? These are questions you must consider in trying to attract the new wave of talent.

Demonstrate that you appreciate them.

The next time you want to show your employees that you value them, skip the gift card. According to studies, leaders who are responsive to their employees and recognize their hard work and achievements on a regular basis see higher levels of satisfaction and engagement.

Keep in mind that no two employees are the same, and so different tokens of appreciation will be needed. (A given employee may enjoy public attention; another might prefer a private handwritten note or card.)

Focus on career development.

To keep millennials around, let them know what growth opportunities are available from the start. In order for them to advance, they have to know that the company will invest in them and continually up-train them, providing the new skills they need to advance in their career.

Get involved and set up coffee meetings with leaders in roles to which they aspire. Host sessions for skills development. Most important, consider the talents and skills of the employee, and make sure he or she is matched with a role that they will enjoy and excel in.

Challenge them.

According to a Gallup study, 60 percent of Australian workers are disengaged and 16 percent are actively disengaged. These numbers are largely due to one of the least-recognized productivity killers: boredom. Your employees may seem busy and inundated with tasks, but many are mundane and require little innovative thinking.

Challenging your employees comes with a host of benefits, including these:

  • It keeps their skills and minds sharp.
  • They feel valued as they are performing more than simply “grunt work.”
  • Employees who are challenged are more engaged and productive in their work.

Have great managers at the helm.

Middle managers matter. These people have daily contact with your employees and directly influence how they work. One of the greatest challenges for organizations is finding terrific supervisors. Make sure the manager receives adequate training and understands the value of employee engagement.

Recognize their contributions.

Employee recognition is one of the top engagement drivers. It goes a long way toward creating that ideal company culture, and it proves to employees that what they do is valued. Keep the individuality of each employee in mind when recognizing each for his or her efforts, and you will be well on your way to creating an outstanding workplace.

A version of this article originally appeared on HR Daily.

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