As Baby Boomers Retire, Millennials Step Up

Generation Y, aka the Millennial Generation, includes people born between 1980 and 2000. We’ll do the math for you: millennials are currently between 19-39 years old.

According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age every day, and this is expected to continue into the 2030s.

As Baby Boomers leave the workforce, wide talent gaps are opening up within companies.

However, the generation waiting to fill these roles is much different than their predecessors. Millennials have particular tastes and preferences in regards to company culture.

Recruiters and hiring managers must keep-step with the millennial generation to fill their organization with these innovative and inspired employees.

In this article, we’re outlining specific ways to optimize and leverage company culture to attract top millennial talent.

Stage One: Understand Company Culture

The phrase “company culture” is thrown around often in the HR industry. But what exactly is company culture and what makes it appealing to a millennial?

Company culture is the collective “norms” of an organization like employee behavior, working styles and values.

Company culture is so complex that it is often hotly debated. The definition itself is often up for review.

Stage Two: Define Your Company’s Culture

What’s important about company culture when it comes to attracting millennials is to first know what your culture is.

Harvard Business Review outlines 8 types of company culture including Purpose, Caring, Safety, Order, Authority, Results, Enjoyment, and Learning.

A company like Whole Foods has a culture defined by caring. On the other hand, Zappos is all about enjoyment.

Landing on your company culture saves time. If everyone knows the culture is “purposeful and friendly” this language can be used consistently in job descriptions, interviews and internally.

  • Tip: Form a Culture Taskforce to survey members across your organization about how they view the company culture. Use this information to define your company culture type.

Stage Three: Optimize for Millennials

Once you can articulate your specific company culture, you can determine whether it needs to evolve to meet the needs of millennials.

Don’t worry, most organizations need at least some evolution to be millennial-friendly.

Use your existing culture as a foundation to create an even stronger millennial-friendly environment. This ultimately drives a more effective and profitable business.

  • Tip: When kicking off any culture shift initiative, be sure to include millennial employees in the project. Their opinions will be highly valuable.

How to Update Your Culture for Millennials

Culture Starts in the Recruiting Phase

Realize that company culture is important before a millennial has even been hired. This savvy generation knows how to spot a good (or bad) culture with a few clicks online. 

Your Story Matters – Get Creative With It

Get serious about your employer brand and reputation communicated online.

Be sure your company’s story is being shared across blogs, your website, and social media. Inspire them with a compelling and authentic origin story that outlines the purpose of your organization.

  • Tip: Leverage your in-house marketing and writing teams to develop the company story. It’s more important than you realize, so use top talent to craft it.

Your Values Matter – Boast About Them

Make it very clear online how your company is impacting the world because millennials long for meaningful work.

Forbes says that 64 percent of millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place: “They’re looking strategically at opportunities to invest in a place where they can make a difference, preferably a place that itself makes a difference.”

Communicating the vision of your company often is essential. Demonstrate how the millennial fits into the vision years down the road as they work for you.

  • Tip: Showcase photos of your “good work” online, across social media and your Glassdoor profile. If you participate in volunteer days like Habitat For Humanity, this should be proudly shared online.

Keep Millennials Inspired After the Offer

Finding hot millennial talent is a huge feat for hiring teams. However, once you hire a millennial employee, your wooing isn’t over.

Millennials are known for “job-hopping” if they are unsatisfied with their current role (or company culture). Don’t let your Gen-Y talent escape, keep them motivated and engaged with these strategies.

Get Comfortable with Flexibility

These three letters will keep your millennials super-happy: WFH.

The ability to work from home is a coveted benefit for most people, but especially millennials.

Research agrees that this generation appreciates “flexibility in working hours, a work-life balance, and offering a sense of purpose.”  

Millennials need to feel a sense of agency over their own schedule. If they need to be home for a four-hour cable installation window, the freedom to work from home provides a huge relief.

Companies with a traditional track-record often resist offering work from home benefits fearing that employees simply won’t work. Or leaders worry that productivity will slow as communication will be difficult.

However, if there’s anything that millennials know how to do – it’s how to connect online. A millennial employee is the most equipped to work offsite while leveraging online messaging, texting and video conferencing.

Furthermore, providing millennials with the trust and autonomy to work from home will ultimately show that they are valued.

  • Tip: If you’re not comfortable with offering work from home benefits, start with one day per week. Sometimes just that one day at home is enough to help millennials feel the freedom they crave.

Millennials Need Space

When your millennials are in the office, they still want freedom (are you sensing a theme here?)

Update your office configuration to promote flexibility to move around and not be stuck in a cube all day. In fact, some millennials don’t even want a cube.

Offering lounge areas, open spaces, and quiet retreat areas is surprisingly appealing to millennials who don’t want to be stagnant.

Companies have actually started saving money by implementing a work from home strategy paired with flexible work environments. With more employees working from home, less space is needed on-site.

  • Tip: For open office inspiration, check out how local co-working spaces design their interiors. Draw ideas from other millennial-friendly companies like Google.

A Millennial-Friendly Culture Starts On The Inside

It’s easy to write “we offer a flexible working environment” on your job postings. It takes much more effort to truly grow a culture that empowers millennials.

When you do the work to analyze your current culture and take genuine steps to update it, your current employees will be the first to benefit. Happy employees are the best advertisement for an employer.

Start with a positive intention, build a modern culture from the inside, and top talent will follow.

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