Jun 6, 2012
Emily McMackin
Emily McMackin
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Gen-Y Workers: How to Attract Them and Keep Them Invested

Nashville entrepreneurs

They are the workers of tomorrow and will dominate the workforce for years to come. Generation Y workers — also referred to as Millennials — are the fastest growing group of new employees, with about 40 million currently in the workforce and millions more being added every year. They will soon represent the majority, comprising 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

In just 13 years, three out of every four workers globally will be Gen Y, and companies hoping to attract the best and brightest of this generation are already looking for new and creative ways of recruiting them. From slickly produced videos to workplace competitions, businesses are using unconventional tactics to capture the attention of tech-savvy, digitally-driven Gen-Y workers.

Today’s graduates are shaped not only by a tech-saturated world, but also by the collaborative-learning approach of colleges and universities, and are drawn to companies that cultivate this kind of environment, Deloitte Consulting director Michael Gelles told the Washington Post. In fact, if more businesses replicated the atmosphere of higher-education institutions, it might “make the transition easier and contribute to retention” for younger workers, Gelles pointed out.

Workplace Culture Matters
Team building was the idea behind an employee motor club established at ClearSpring, a McLean-Va.-based web technology company profiled in the Post. The club meets on weekends and evenings to restore junk cars and competes in races against other fixer uppers. Not only does the after-work activity help employees build camaraderie, it also acclimates them to the culture within the company, which competes against “smaller companies more focused on innovation from a product perspective,” Will Meyer, senior vice president of publisher products, noted in the article.

But reaching out to today’s job seekers isn’t just about relaxing the dress code or putting a foosball table in the office. If employers hope to recruit young talent and keep them invested, they need to understand what potential hires are looking for fundamentally — and how that differs from older generations of workers.

Gen-Y workers, for example, are less likely to feel attached to or defined by their jobs and are more likely to move around if they don’t feel they are being acknowledged or challenged. A recent study by Millennial Branding revealed other insights about this up-and-coming workforce, including the entrepreneurial nature of Millennials and their desire for flexibility, responsibility and a strong work-life balance.

Drawing the Top Talent
Despite their growing ranks, just 7 percent of Gen-Y workers are employed by the largest U.S. corporations, according to the study. Top recruiters for this generation of workers include major retailers and the U.S. Armed Forces. Such a small percentage of Millennials working for corporate conglomerates gives smaller businesses and start-up firms an edge when recruiting young hires.

Finding and attracting undiscovered raw talent among this generation all starts with the job description, writes HR analyst Jennifer King in her recent post on the Software Advice blog.

She offers six tips for crafting a job description that will lure the best Millennial candidates, including telling the company story; describing the workplace culture and what makes it appealing; illustrating to applicants how they might fit in and what the job could do for them; explaining what makes the position valuable and integral to the company; discussing the creative benefits of the job outside of the typical health-care coverage and 401(k) plan; sharing the vision for how the job or company might evolve in the future. As King notes:

Millennials don’t just want to crank out work and check off items on a to-do list. We want to love the company we work for, so use the job description to get us excited. 

How can companies use these insights on Gen Y to recruit, attract and retain young talent? Know any good examples? Please share them below.

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