A recent study from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program revealed that millennials make up 44 percent of America. This generation has often been labeled entitled and self-obsessed by the media. However, the data reveals a much more encouraging and diverse story.
The millennial generation, now 75 million strong, is the most adaptable generation in history. Millennials grew up without cell phones or Facebook, yet today they are highly tech-savvy and innovative.
This generation joined the workforce during the Great Recession, forcing them to acquire grit and perspective early in their careers.
In this article, we’ll be sharing why hiring millennials innately drives a more diverse and successful company culture. We’ll also detail the benefits of millennial diversity for organizations. Finally, we’ll provide tips to consciously recruit and hire a more diverse millennial workforce.
Diversity is More Diverse Than Ever Before
To start, we need to define and expand on the topic of diversity. The traditional definition of diversity includes race, gender, and ethnicity. However, there are other important attributes to consider as part of the definition of diversity.
Socioeconomic status, family of origin, level of education, values and working styles are all valid elements of diversity. This broader view is also known as cognitive diversity, according to Deloitte.
The millennial generation is brimming with valuable attributes, perspectives and skills that organizations need to succeed in a highly complex and competitive world.
How To Attract Top Talent With Diversity
Millennials are an appealing pool of talent for recruiters and hiring managers. However, this group is resourceful and agile, meaning they have many job opportunities to choose from. Below we’re sharing how to capitalize on the message of diversity to attract the best millennial candidates.
Hiring a diverse millennial workforce starts in the recruiting phase. During the interview process, questions should be asked that indicate diversity and inclusion matter.
An example from Fast Company is this bold question, “Are you willing to be wrong about your opinion on the world?” Which helps to assess the candidate’s own open-mindedness.
The interviewers should also be consciously aware of any biases they may have prior to the interview. For example, if data scientist candidates are almost always male, interviewers should be certain to manage their own expectations and biases if a candidate is female.
HR departments should continually assess their interview questions and processes for bias, and work to create an inclusive experience.
During the interview phase, recruiters should also promote inclusivity efforts within the company. If there are company groups that champion diversity, share those examples with the candidate.
Diverse Working Options
There’s a reason millennials value remote work so much. Millennials value the freedom to choose how and where they work. While the option to work from home may seem inconsequential to preceding generations, it signifies to millennials that they maintain some control, even when employed by a corporation.
If an unlimited work from home policy is not in place, there are other ways to instill flexibility. Ensure managers allow employees to take time off for appointments, children and the general necessities of “life”. Trust employees to take time away and still perform in their role.
Varied Career Paths
Millennials are motivated by varied experiences. Baby Boomers are known for starting a job at the bottom and steadfastly climbing to the top over 30 years. However, millennials do not aspire to that same trajectory.
“Millennials don’t see moving vertically up the career ladder as the only or best option. They want career opportunities that branch out in different directions.” says Steele.
Remind management teams that lateral moves can be exciting for millennials. Ensure all opportunities are shared with your millennial employees, even if they aren’t traditional promotions.
Moves up the ladder are not the only option that this generation values.
Listen and Learn
Leaders can’t be expected to fully grasp the entirety of the millennial mindset. At any given time, managers and executives may be leading three or four generations at once. Catering to multiple generations perfectly is impossible without help.
Instead of trying to assume what makes each generation happy, leaders should rely on open communication. With open-mindedness, leaders can avoid missteps. Managers should solicit feedback from multiple perspectives before making choices that would affect employees.
Simply asking for information on how millennials view a topic can be illuminating and will further emphasize that their perspective matters.
Creating an open dialogue about generational differences can be productive and even fun. Millennials may find it intriguing to learn how baby boomers work and vice versa. The key is in the transparency and commitment to listening first.
Your Bottom Line Will Thank You
Understanding millennials and their diversity will not only help to attract top talent, but it will also contribute to the company’s bottom line. A study by McKinsey showed that between 2008 and 2010, companies with diverse stakeholders were also top financial performers. Moving forward, employers should consider ways to add more millennials to their talent pipelines.
Cultivating diversity within the organization should become part of the overall growth strategy for any company.
Millennials Are The Bridge
Looking even further into the future, millennials will serve as a vital bridge. In today’s sometimes divisive cultural climate, millennials have the important ability to relate to both previous generations and future generations. This unique perspective will be essential as the post-millennial generation enters the workforce. Investing in a diverse, inclusive millennial talent pool sets your company up to flex with the future.