Care and feeding of millennial workers
Each new generation seems to acquire its own nickname and accompanying stereotype that said generation either tries to live up to or avoid. The GI generation: Use it up, fix it up, make it do or do without.
The baby boomers: Save the world, free love, retirement. Generation X: latch-key kids, misunderstood, credit card debt.
Taking the world by storm, millennials surpassed Gen-X to become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce in 2015. And by 2030, by many estimates, millennials will make up more than 40 percent of the workforce.
In a workplace where the average employee is 31 years old, the majority of Indeed.com’s 6,000 plus global employees are millennials. How to attract and keep them?
“Overall, it’s important to embrace technology in your recruitment and employee engagement strategy, and also build a total rewards program that balances the benefits, support and development opportunities needed for employees at different stages of their career and life,” said Paul Wolfe, senior vice president.
For instance, a few years ago Indeed improved its primary and secondary caregiver leave program to 16 weeks of 100 percent pay for primary caregivers, and six weeks of 100 percent pay for secondary caregivers. In addition, Indeed’s primary caregivers have a four week transition period after their 16 weeks of leave, allowing these employees to gradually get back to working 40 hours a week over the four week period.
“We regularly hear how grateful those employees are to have the time to bond with the new additions to their families,” Wolfe said. “No matter what stage of life individual employees are in, we believe in work-life balance and giving everyone the means to manage their time in a way that works best for them.”
Globally, Wolfe said Indeed is committed to cultivating an inclusive culture where all people feel comfortable being themselves and expressing their opinions.
“We believe diverse viewpoints bring different capabilities, and help us strengthen our decision-making, develop better product and brand experiences, and fuel our growth,” he said.
A casual dress code, employee development, monthly happy hours, catered lunches, flexible work arrangements and the list of perks, office quirks and out-of-the-box ways to shape the company culture are seemingly endless.
But perhaps more than perks and more than money, Wolfe said millennials are in search of meaningful work.
“Despite enduring a recession and jobs crisis, research shows millennials are less motivated by money, and are driven to find opportunities, organizations, and companies that share a desire to do good in the world. For Indeed, our mission, “to help people get jobs,” has been critical to everything that we do, and it’s largely the reason people come to work at Indeed,” he said.
As owner and CEO of Operations Inc., a Norwalk human resources outsourcing and consulting firm, David Lewis can say that employers need to change the way they have traditionally viewed the workplace if they hope to attract and retain millennial hires.
And it begins with the interview.
“When we interview anyone who is a millennial, we are laser focused on painting a very clear picture about their potential career path in our organization. One of the things that are attributed to millennials as a characteristic is that they’re looking for diverse roles and opportunity in their job. They get bored relatively easily,” Lewis said. “For us, we can very easily sell them on the idea that they will get to work with multiple clients, multiple cultures and work with a team of people who are there to coach and mentor and sponge off of.”
A recent study by LinkedIn found that young people change jobs a lot more than their parents did. The Gen Xers who graduated college from 1986 to 1990 changed jobs twice in their first 10 years out of college, LinkedIn found.
The new normal is for millennials, those who graduated from 2006 to 2010, to jump jobs four times in their first decade out of college--nearly double the bouncing around the generation before them did.
“Millennials view someone who leaves a job and goes to a new one every year as an entrepreneur,” Lewis said. “Companies are thinking of those recent grads or junior hires and wondering how do I get these people to want to come to work for me, and how do I get these people to stop leaving. You’re battling the sentiment that says ‘I want to be an entrepreneur so I have to change jobs each year.’ They’re always going for something that seems cooler, the classic case of the grass is greener.”
In a job market with 3.9 percent unemployment, so many companies are relying on the workforce that is under the age of 35 to be able to fill positions as they expand and as they lose people, Lewis said.
“There is far greater abundance of recent grads and jobseekers under the age of 30 than over the age of 30 and if you as an employer can figure out how to bring those things to them that are actually of value to them, then you’ll keep them longer than one or two years,” he said.
Companies are tweaking the way they operate to include constant performance and job progression feedback, flexible schedules and a culture that morphs the workplace with a more social setting are those who are retaining millennial hires, Lewis said.
Operations Inc. began the year with 67 people has since hired 30 people, half of which are millennials.
“Our culture has always been what is attractive to millennials,” Lewis said....We offer a lot in the way of flexibility in terms of work schedules. We feed our people. We organize happy hours and company trips. We play corn hole in the office as a tournament throughout the entire year.”
The list goes on, in the firm’s effort to avoiud stodgy office culture.
“We want to set an example that we can carry forward to clients who hire us who are looking to tweak their own culture,” Lewis said.