How To Hire (and Keep) Millennials

How to Hire (and Keep) Millennials

By Dawn Penfold | November 4, 2019

As seen in Small Market Meetings

Millennials are now the largest generational block within the workforce. The influences that shaped them and the factors that motivate them are different than the preceding Gen-X, Gen-Y, and Baby Boomer generations. This means that as a hiring official, (even if you too are a Millennial), it’s important to know what to do in order to hire efficiently, communicate effectively and motivate sufficiently to retain them for the long term.
A sample of Millennial candidates was surveyed to learn what initially attracted them to a company, what excited and motivated them, and what would effectively retain them. Below are 6 areas to consider.

Commit to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Millennials want to feel like the organization they’re working for has integrity and high ethical standards. They want to give back to their community. They want to participate in CSR Programs. As a result, companies with robust CSR programs tend to better recruit millennials. One millennial candidate told us she is able to dedicate one week a year to her favorite not-for-profit organization. This millenial shared that she finds this greatly motivational, and she truly appreciates her company’s commitment to CSR.

If your organization does not have a CSR program in place you are missing out on a great opportunity. Assign this project to a millennial and let them use their creativity to create the program. Everyone wins.

There’s a correlation between commitment and perks.
Many of the millennials surveyed mentioned they are seeking a company they can stay with for the long-term. They want a fair salary with benefits. As an “entitled generation,” the list of benefits is extensive. Items such as 401K, full medical (including dental and vision), flexible vacation schedule, flexible work schedule, and the ability to work from a virtual setting are all important things to consider. Some of those surveyed even mentioned additional benefits such as company sponsored child care, pet insurance, health club membership and commuting assistance. One company I have worked with, who is successful in hiring millennials, advertises employee recreation time, expresso machines and kegs of beer from 5:00 pm on. They also offer the opportunity to pay off existing student college debt or appropriate tuition reimbursement. Another company offers a menu of benefits that their employees can choose from, enabling them to choose the benefits structure that best suits their current lifestyle.

Create a supportive company culture.
An overwhelming need of millennial workers is to be happy and appreciated at the office. This is a generation that received trophies merely for being on a team, not necessarily winning the championship. Companies with strong On-Boarding programs that teach the corporate culture immediately, and offers feedback often, tend to have better retention. Millennials want personal and professional growth, a path upward, and the knowledge that they are part of the bigger picture. They want responsibility yet also guidance and mentoring from their supervisors.

Give them the opportunity to grow.
A large portion of those surveyed believe that cross training within the organization, and the ability to develop professionally are very important. This is a tech savvy group. They know that technology and methods change AND hey want to develop skill sets that will not become obsolete.

Understand the pressures of the job.
No one wants burnout, especially millennials. They saw it with their parents and don’t want it for themselves. Millennials want a company that appreciates the work they do and offers the opportunity to regroup when necessary. Items such as flexible comp time, variable usage of personal time, or simply the ability to meditate or recharge at work are all things to consider. This generation seeks both intrinsic and extrinsic work satisfaction. Balance between their professional and home lives is very important to them and, if that’s not available, they will move on to a company that offers it.

Give constructive feedback.
Millennials tend to be thinner-skinned than their predecessors. They need to know where they stand so they’ll appreciate it when you create an environment with feedback loops that gives assessments regularly. Evaluations should allow them to feel good about their work and reinforce their commitment to the job. It also allows management the opportunity to take corrective action and offer needed guidance in a timelier manner if necessary.

For the first time, the workforce has four generations working in the same office. Knowing the needs of each generation offers the opportunity to retain employees and create harmony in the workplace.

About Dawn Penfold

Dawn Penfold is President of Meetingjobs, LLC, a search firm, job board and website dedicated to those searching for a position in the meetings and special events industry and to those that are hiring in those fields. Visit

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