Every effective human resources professional is also an accomplished sociologist. The best practices for recruiting and retaining top talent changes from generation to generation. This is especially true when it comes to what is known as the millennial or Gen Y generation.
The millennial generation refers to anyone that was born between the years of 1982 and 2002. Just like previous generations, most millennials exhibit unique characteristics when it comes to pursuing a professional career. Although income and security are important, millennials seem to be more interested in developing meaningful relationships and finding purpose in their personal and professional lives.
It’s estimated that Gen Y workers will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Unlike the preceding generation, millennials aren’t necessarily interested in job security or spending an entire career with one company. According to Undercover Recruiter, millennial workers are idealistic, ambitious, digitally proficient and diverse. Over 70 percent of existing millennial workers intend to leave their job once the economy improves.
HR professionals are finding that developing a relationship with Gen Y job prospects is more effective than selling the salary and perks of a professional position. Many companies begin networking with future job prospects early on in college. Millennial job applicants rely on social media to research and get to know prospective employers. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be assumed that social networking alone is the answer to attracting talented millennials.
Millennial workers want to identify with the company they work for and be part of a company culture that promotes camaraderie and high employee morale. They want to make a difference and be involved in the decision making process. Employers are encouraged to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, provide lots of feedback and understand that millennial employees are seeking opportunities to grow and advance.
Gen Y Stereotypes
As with any set of assumptions, the stereotypes generally attributed to the millennial generation won’t apply to every job prospect. There are many exceptions to every rule. Understanding the world view of millennials is crucial in today’s workforce environment, but identifying the aspirations of individual job candidates is far more important. Finally, a company should never cater to millennials at the expense of an achievement oriented workforce culture.
With the way that technology has leapt forward in the past few decades, generational issues are growing more and more pronounced. Not only do you have cultural differences to deal with when you have a diverse workforce, but you also have to think about technological barriers. If you really want to make sure that everyone, from baby boomers to millennials, can work together, keep these things in mind.
Try to Involve Everyone
A big part of the reason why people feel alienated is simply because they are part of a group that is not being given equal consideration. Older workers may rely on experience and knowledge, while younger workers focus on being innovative and coming up with new ways to do things, seeing as how they lack that experience. Successful companies need to balance both of these aspects, and neither group should get preference over the other. Clearly indicate that input from both sides is valued equally so that all members of the team feel that they can contribute.
The Simplest Solution is Often the Best
Much of the time, keeping things simple is the best plan for a meeting that everyone enjoys. Do not depend too much on older or newer technologies. For example, having a meeting on Skype so that no one has to leave the office may sound easy, but it can grow complicated for older workers in a hurry. Why not just stick with older tactics of having everyone meet in a central meeting room when possible? This breeds a sense of company community, and it eliminates a lot of the hurdles that you could otherwise face.
Focus on Understanding
To some degree, you must simply realize that older and younger generations are never going to see eye-to-eye on everything. They are always going to have different viewpoints. You need to focus on bridging that gap instead of pretending it does not exist. If you can get each side to understand where the other is coming from and create an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation, cultural differences and age differences are going to mean a lot less. Focus on strengths and how people can work together. Do not focus on differences and things that are holding you back.
Hiring and retaining top talent is crucial to the success of any achievement-oriented organization. Corporate leaders, including HR managers and professionals, understand the staggering cost of employee turnover. Many companies are forced to endure turnover rates in excess of 60 percent every four years. Needless to say, the loss of talented executives, managers and rising stars can make it nearly impossible for a business to accomplish strategic objectives.
Employee retention should begin even before the hiring process begins. It’s important to identify the employee characteristics that best fit the organization and position in question. Extensive discussions with executives and managers, exit interviews and regular conversations with current employees can help establish a strategy for making successful hires.
Although it’s true that talented employees are typically interested in furthering their career goals, it should not be assumed that compensation is the only reward they have in mind. Many talented employees move on simply because they’re frustrated with management or they perceive that the company doesn’t offer a realistic path for career advancement. Every HR recruiter should be aware of the career opportunities that may be available to prospective employees.
Achievement and Advancement
Talented employees are more likely to stay with a company that demonstrates an interest in their career goals. Constant communication at every level of an organization is the only way to avoid unexpected resignations. Every level of leadership should emphasize the implementation of a professional development program that includes the career objectives of future leaders. The importance of related training and development for managers and executives cannot be overemphasized.
The career goals of one talented employee may be quite different from that of another high achiever. It’s vital that the leadership of a company create the conditions necessary to prompt an employee to strive for success. While one employee has a desire to occupy the office of a high-level executive, another high achiever may only be interested in high-stakes commission checks. Ambitious employees can’t stand failure. It’s only natural that they keep their future prospects in mind. A professional HR department does everything possible to allow talented employees to reach their highest potential.
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Talented, skilled, dedicated and motivated employees generate an incalculable return on investment for your business. Motivating current employees is hard enough, but it is far easier when your HR department recruits candidates who already show passion and pride in their current work.
Key Traits of Motivated Candidates
Search for recruits who will become engaged with your company by looking for the following characteristics:
- The correct candidate has a record of initiative and seeing assignments through to the desired result.
- Their resume displays a tendency to lead, whether through projects, teams, products or industry initiatives. These leadership positions may be technical or managerial.
- The best candidates intrinsically view problems as invitations to work harder rather than impediments to progress.
- Even the best employees make mistakes or encounter insurmountable obstacles. In the face of these, motivated employees maintain an irrepressible enthusiasm. Furthermore, they draw useful, positive lessons from such situations.
Are They Looking for Change for the Right Reasons?
Employees can become discouraged with little or no effort on the part of management. Ignoring their efforts, leaving them out of decision-making, using fear to motivate or failing to challenge their creativity are well-known ways to sap employee vigor.
Employees engaged in the company’s business are constantly looking to do more, to take on new projects, learn new skills or find ways to do their current tasks more efficiently. They become dissatisfied when these desires are thwarted or they are not allowed flexibility in how and when results are delivered.
Keep in mind such circumstances when discussing their reasons for considering a change of employers. These provide clues to whether the person feels they cannot spread their wings or that they are simply bored or looking for a larger paycheck.
Start Off on the Right Footing
Once you have identified your motivated recruit and have discussed pay, benefits and working conditions, be sure to uphold your end of the deal. If the employee does not feel that he or she is receiving what was promised, performance may be negatively impacted from day one.
The purpose of workforce planning is to align a company’s workforce objectives with the strategic objectives and priorities of the organization as a whole. It identifies current and future workforce capabilities and provides solutions to meet any deficiencies. An essential component in the workforce plan must be retention policies that target turnover.
Retention Should Be a Higher Priority than Recruitment
Critical turnover refers to the loss of employees that demonstrate the highest potential value to the company. Typical turnover costs are more than twice an employee’s salary, but far higher when the organization loses its most motivated and productive contributors. This is why retention of high value employees should take priority over policies and programs to recruit new talent.
Discuss Misconceptions about Turnover and Retention
During a discussion of retention policies, it is helpful to clear up preconceived notions about turnover and its causes:
- An employee’s pay level is not usually the primary reason for them leaving. People more often quit because they have problems with their manager or the organization as a whole.
- Examining the reasons people leave is necessary, but it is equally important to evaluate why employees, especially the most valued among them, choose to stay.
- Most exit interviews provide scant insight into turnover causes. Departing employees are worried about job references or burning bridges back to the company. Thus, they supply interviewers with non-confrontational half truths about why they are leaving.
- There must be a distinction made between turnover in general and critical turnover. Retaining the highest performers is far more productive to the bottom line than trying to make everyone happy. Turnover of less productive workers is not always undesirable.
Retention Is a Team Effort
To be successful, it must be pointed out that retention strategies are not the sole burden of the HR department. They must be developed and practiced with the close involvement of management. Managers should be provided opportunities to sharpen their communication and coaching skills and trained to detect signs that good employees are thinking of moving on.