Hiring Millennials – the art of communication

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If you have not watched or read anything recently about the pitfalls of hiring millennials, you probably don’t watch the news much. Apparently millennials are a bunch of lazy, good for nothings who show no loyalty and will leave their employer at the drop of a hat.

Our experience is somewhat different.

Yes, millennials may be different to previous generations. However, it is also definitely the case that many traditional business processes and practices need to be re-vamped to be more appealing to ALL generations, not just millenials. Once businesses adapt, everyone can be a winner. This can be especially true for small and medium sized businesses who are often more agile and can adapt faster than their larger counterparts.

Communication is key

The organisations that communicate most effectively with their staff will also tend to be the most successful. Effective communication with millennials throughout their employment is vital. Millennials have only known a digital world that is able to instantly provide answers to questions and facilitate communication with friends and colleagues. Therefore, short communications via Twitter, Skype and Facebook are likely to be better received than a monthly newsletter, and instant feedback is likely to be more productive than a traditional annual appraisal system.

Big brands, shared values

Millennials want to work flexibly for companies whose values they share, and social media is a great way for organisations to communicate their values. Airbnb is a good example of a relatively new organisation that specifically focuses on hiring Millennials as employees. They work very hard to ensure that Airbnb’s core values are well communicated across all social media channels, and have tried to create a working environment where staff feel as relaxed as they do at home to reinforce this.

Virgin is another well known brand that is actively hiring Millennials by offering the ability to work flexibly, part time, or from home and to take unpaid leave. By doing so, Virgin hope they will not only attract staff of the right calibre, but that they will also want to stay and fulfil their potential within the group. The company recently had a ‘corporate’ day where all their employees had to be in work by 9am, dress formally, not access social media and not make personal phone calls. Richard Branson summarised the experience as ‘horrible…for everybody’.

Virgin is obviously a large organisation that has prioritised these working practices to ensure it becomes an employer of choice. However, these are all areas that are easy wins for small and medium sized businesses that would enable them to recruit Millennials and, more importantly, retain them for the long term.