Millennials currently make up the largest portion of the workforce, but many companies struggle to find ways to attract them. As a Millennial who just went through the job-hunting process, I have a few tips that can help you simplify the process of attracting and hiring Millennials to your company.
Attracting and Hiring Millennials the ej4 Way
I started my job at ej4 about six months ago, fresh out of college. The job description was looking for someone with 1-3 years of experience (which I did not have), but my manager hired me over other candidates for what she says was my “eagerness and excitement to learn, obvious enthusiasm and ability to complete intelligent and coherent sentences without using “like, um, you know” being every other word.” This position offered me the unique opportunity to have a manager that was willing to take the time to train and mentor me in exchange for my excitement and passion that other candidates didn’t have.
Aside from the chance to be mentored, ej4 offered a whole host of other attributes that made the job appealing to me, and many of these can be implemented in any office environment.
Any article you read about attracting and hiring Millennials focuses a lot on company culture. Even my manager is annoyed that the #1 question she hears from Millennial job candidates is “so, what’s the company culture like?” I can say that ej4’s culture is unique compared to some of the other businesses I saw throughout my job hunt. The office is bright and colorful, and some of the most eye-catching pieces are our shuffleboard and ping-pong table which get used many Friday afternoons. Our kitchen and conference room are constantly stocked full of sweet and savory snacks, a multitude of coffee flavors, sodas, and LaCroix (the Millennial drink of choice, of course!). On top of all that, the company buys our office lunch every other week.
Not only do the things like casual dress, snacks, and lunch save me money outside of work, but it promotes camaraderie, heightens employee morale, and builds our connections with one another. I discovered very soon after I started working here that our team is personable and has a good sense of humor, and I think our comfortable work environment fosters a positive attitude throughout the whole office. A company culture such as ours may seem like a luxury to older generations in the workforce, but to Millennials, it’s a high priority.
Regular Access to Senior Management
Unlike many entry level jobs, I also have regular access to senior management for learning opportunities. Our company is small and flat, so there are fewer levels of management to go through. In a bigger company, there would be many people in the hierarchy between me and the CEO, and direct communication with senior management would not be likely. Being able to have easy access to them is helpful in a number of ways; it gives me their point of view on what’s going on with sales and marketing, day-to-day operations, and projects in the company’s future. Getting perspectives from our Director of Operations and Instructional Designer helps me understand our content better, which in turn gives me more insight into what we offer to our clients.
Having access to senior management also means that I had to learn to “manage up.” A lot of my responsibilities, including writing press releases, organizing applications for awards, and orchestrating in-office activities, require approval from more senior people in the company, which can be intimidating to someone who is fresh out of college. It may have seemed strange at first to ask my CEO to lend me a hand on a project, but what I realized is that these situations are teaching me valuable project management skills for the future. It’s highly likely, if not absolutely certain, that in a future job I will need information, approval, or input from more senior leaders within any company.
Challenging Job Responsibilities
Many entry-level positions are “gopher” jobs where younger employees spend their days making copies, doing data entry, administrative work and the like. Another way to attract Millennials is to create positions that allow them to use their degree, but also challenge them to learn new things. My position forces me to use my degree in Marketing every single day, which is something that not all my peers can say the same of. My job makes me feel like a useful addition to the company, not just an intern making copies.
Being a Marketing Coordinator for ej4 means that I have a wide range of responsibilities. Some things are projects that I own 100%, like social media, where I curate and post content on a daily basis. Others are projects that I work on as part of a team, such as distributing leads or working to support our website with our Marketing Technologist. I also work directly with my manager to support her projects as well, helping her with trade show planning, brand messaging discussions, and facilitating group brainstorm meetings. My daily tasks are always changing and I never get bored with my work because it’s different every day and feels meaningful.
Another way to make attracting and hiring Millennials easier is having the latest and greatest in technology. Up-to-date technology and connectivity is a Millennial must-have, and our tech-savvy dispositions can be a benefit to any company. Fortunately, our office is very tech-forward. All of the cloud-based tools that I had grown accustomed to using in college, such as laptops, wireless internet, Google Docs, instant messaging, and Box, are all standard tools used daily in our office. They make communication and collaboration easy, and allow me to work anywhere in the office, from my desk, to our collaboration space, or our big comfy couch. Our completely wireless network lets me work from anywhere, even my own living room! While it is a huge bonus to be able to work from home when I need to, the comfortable environment of the office space means that I rarely want to.
Opportunities to Give Back
Giving back to the community is something Millennials love to do. They also love when companies provide them with opportunities to do so. One of my first projects when I started was to coordinate a company-wide philanthropy event. I planned and executed a “Christmas in July” fundraiser and collection to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis and Kansas City. This allowed me to flex my muscles as a coordinator, but also to support a local charity. Any company can be philanthropic, whether it’s a canned food drive for your local food pantry, or a day building homes with Habitat for Humanity, there’s always an opportunity to give back that fits your company culture and that will undoubtedly appeal to Millennials.
Access to Training and Development Opportunities
I’m lucky that I work at a company that develops training videos. Our content ranges from Safety to Selling Skills to Professional Productivity and so much more! I have access to a full library of videos that help me develop my business skills such as budgeting, creating a presentation, and managing my time effectively, among many other topics. But development isn’t just about training, it’s about having constructive criticism and feedback from people within your company. My manager gives me a mix of formal and informal training nearly every day at work. It helps me learn and grow “on the fly,” and is bolstered by the video training that I also have unmitigated access to.
My other development opportunities come in the form of the trade shows and conferences I get to attend. These events fall under my marketing responsibilities, but they also are packed full of educational seminars and keynote speakers that increase my knowledge of the industry and inspire me with new ideas and skills I could incorporate into my projects. Getting to travel to these events is a huge bonus, too. How many entry-level employees get to go to Las Vegas in their first 4 months at a job!? The way I see it, the more opportunities I have to learn, whether by mentoring, experiences, or video training, the more skills I will have to bring to the table to support our business.
My first half-year on the job as a Millennial has taught me a lot about the things I value in a company and in a job position such as culture, responsibility, and accountability. I realize that my position may be somewhat unique, especially when I talk with my peers about their jobs and find that they hardly ever use the degree they worked so hard for. It’s also hard to place a value on all the skills I’ve learned and tasks I’ve managed in the past few months. I could never have guessed how much I would get to be responsible for this early on in a position.
The experience I’ve had so far goes to show how unique our company culture is. It provides a well-balanced environment of mentorship and individual responsibility, which is the Millennial job jackpot. Chances are you may not be able to implement all our company traits I mentioned into your business (we are unique to ourselves, after all!) to attract Millennials. But, at the very least, you can offer your Millennial employees our cool and informative training that provides them with opportunities to grow their skills.
You can take the first step to fostering that growth today by signing up for a full-featured, free trial of our Thinkzoom LMS. In this trial you will find all the amazing training tools that have helped me along the way here at ej4. You will also find courses designed to help companies adapt to having Millennials in their workforce. Our “Integrating Millennials” series is a helpful tool that helps characterize Millennials for managers, helping them through the process of adding employees from this generation to their team.