If you are marketing to Millennials as customers, clients, members, readers and subscribers or whatever group you want to funnel them toward, what better place to start than by targeting them in your employee recruiting strategy? Who better to provide perspective on a generation of people than someone who is actually part of that generation?
Millennials are the generation of adults born between the early 1980s and the turn of the century. They now occupy the entirety of the prized 18- to 35-year-old target audience for marketers. They are the first generation to come of age with the Internet in their living rooms and the last (at least some of them) to remember life before cell phones were in virtually every pocket. And most are all grown up.
Millennials Have Largest Share of the Workforce
This youngest generation of today's employees makes up more than a third of the workforce, according to Pew Research, and in 2015 overtook Generation X for the largest share. By 2025, 75 percent of workers will be Millennials. And the next generation after that will be their children. The oldest Millennials will turn 40 in roughly five years. They are poised to move into leadership roles — if they haven't done so already.
Some say Millennials are lazy and entitled, that they expect life to be easy, but these workers are ready to be engaged by the right companies. They are educated and tech-savvy, and they are confident, connected and open to change, having been raised to believe in themselves. They are also more likely to speak up and ask for change when they feel something could be better or more efficient. They aren't necessarily wishing for more than those who came before them, but they are more likely to articulate their wishes and more likely to depart for greener pastures if they have the chance.
They may want more flexible hours, the ability to work remotely at times, standing desks, ergonomic office equipment, employee day care, on-premises fitness centers, and many employers are listening because they want them to stick around. Millennials will stay where they feel wanted and appreciated, PricewaterhouseCoopers found in a major study conducted in 2013.
Lisa Orrell, keynote speaker, consultant and author of such books as "Millennials Incorporated" and "Millennials Into Leadership," has identified five strategies to retain Millennial workers: Communicate regularly with them, help them become leaders, provide training and development, offer mentorships, and give them creative change in responsibilities.
These strategies all involve engagement and investment; engaging with them and investing in them as valued members of your staff. This also offers opportunities to blend the visionary ideas and tech expertise of youth with the wisdom and experience of their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Millennials are team players, so they'll rise to the challenge.
Millennials, Orrell says, connect more deeply with the relationships within a company than with the company itself. It's all about the psychological connection, the engagement, the investment, the valuation and the validation. Tapping into that can give you some of the most loyal and inspired workers you can get.
Reaching Younger Workers
To attract more attention from Millennials, start by going where they are. Take an active role on social media, including the platforms used by younger people (Instagram, Vine and Tumblr, for example) as well as the tried-and-true Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Present a consistent social media identity that is infused with youth, preferably by assigning younger staff members to take part in social media marketing and engagement.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Hold mini-job fairs in areas frequented by younger adults, such as coffee shops, university commons, or outside in parks, or secure booths at job fairs that target younger workers. Offer colorful and/or techy freebies to draw attention, and include younger staffers in your booth.
- Ask Millennials currently in your company for help in recruiting their peers. This goes along with Orrell's advice to offer new, creative responsibilities and opportunities for leadership. Your younger workers can not only drive your recruiting efforts by doing this, they can also participate in your efforts to engage them. How meta!
- Offer opportunities to engage on a mobile level. If you publish a magazine or newsletter, a mobile app can quickly connect people to content as well as extras such as games and entertainment, thus positioning your company as a fun, friendly business.
Millennials are not the future of business leadership. They're already here, and they're not going anywhere.