Culture, Coaching, Communication – Three Talent Management Strategies to engage with your Millennial Workforce.

company culture; millennials; Digital Generation; recruiting

Part 1: Culture

CHROs don’t care about millennials... at least no more or less than the four other generations they have in the workplace (Laszlow Bock). They do however have major concerns about how to evolve their talent management strategies to stay connected and engaged with their younger employees.

Why do they need to adapt? There are several important reasons: 1) today’s youngest workers were raised in a digital world, and have grown up with constant internet access and smart phones (many have never experienced dial-up modems, car phones, or pagers!); 2) most entered the workforce during or immediately after a recession, so their perspectives of the job market are different at best, most likely quite negative; 3) most are highly educated, with college degrees and beyond (in some ways due to the economic conditions just mentioned); and 4) they have very progressive social, political and environmental positions and beliefs.

To support and sustain their organizations’ growth, talent management strategies need to evolve (not change) in order to attract, retain and develop the millennial workforce.

Culture re-defined

Contrary to early media hype, flexible hours, work/life balance and open floor plans are NOT the essentials that define a desirable work culture for millennials. What’s different about these people is not that culture is important but rather how they define culture. It’s much more important that they see their employer as a company that has a strong mission and purpose.

  • Are you making an impact in the world?
  • Are you environmentally responsible?
  • Are you fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace?
  • Are you community service oriented?

Millennials who frequently participate in workplace and volunteer activities are far more likely to be proud, loyal, and satisfied employees compared to those not given the opportunity. Let them pool the resources that they have acquired over their lifetime to bring value, new ideas, and innovative concepts or campaigns into the office. Millennials want to put their brainpower and energy into something that is going to make an impact. They want to work for organizations that find solutions to the biggest problems facing our world today.

These are the types of characteristics a millennial culture offers and promotes. These cannot be projects, they must be part of the DNA of your company to become part of your brand, identity and culture.

Culture drives Referrals.

If you are challenged with recruiting to fill open positions, the #1 way millennials find new jobs is through referrals. And culture drives referrals. So make sure you are enabling your workforce to share and promote your culture. Employer branding videos are great for your corporate career site, but if you want millennials to share their work experiences, try providing short (4, 8, 10 second) videos that they can share on their social channels (twitter, Vine, Instagram & Snapchat). You have maybe the first three seconds to stop people in their feeds to get them with a piece of content. Company social sites are important, but the content MUST be authentic and relevant to millennials if they are going to share it.

Once you have them, you want to keep them - Challenge and develop them.

Millennials are looking for challenges at work. While early media hype inaccurately branded them as lazy, disengaged and entitled, today’s research tells a completely different story. Millennials are team-oriented, engaged, motivated and ambitious in the workplace. They are looking to be challenged and aspire to lead.

Ensure your workplace is collaborative, and provides a variety of opportunities for informal, on-the job learning. Mandatory video tutorials and classroom settings are not effective. They want to learn their way. Informal, on demand and mobile enabled.

So culture is key…as Google’s Laszlow Bock says in his book “Work Rules”: “culture eats strategy for breakfast." It's definitely true with Millennials. 

What other talent management insights can you learn about millennials? Find out in our original research, "Digital Millennials in the Workforce."

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