They say that millennials are in a class of their own, but since I happen to fall into this age range that society considers to be privileged yet free-spirited, I can tell you this: just because we fall into a generation, does not mean we are all the same.
I shall not delve further into the topic in fear of going on a major tangent, but if you're a hiring manager looking to make your company more attractive to millennials, know that the rules stay the same. Yes, you are marketing towards a group that had more access to technology earlier on with different societal pressures, but your company values and morale should not change.
What do I mean? In a study done by WayUp, a job discovery and listing platform, they surveyed 750 undergrad and MBA students to see what they would want in a potential employer. Although free food perks are a given these days, it turns out that millennials want something a little more than that.
Promote a positive work-life balance.
48.5 percent of respondents said that work-life balance was one of the top three factors they consider when taking a new job.
The study defines work-life balance as, "Whether your company correctly prioritizes the things that matter most to employees such as health, leisure time, and family."
At the end of the day, candidates just want to know that they are cared for. Work is important, yes, but how will a company react if a family emergency comes up? Make the employee feel guilty for taking time off? Or support them in an appropriate way?
Several years ago, I was granted the opportunity to study abroad in Australia but I was also teaching weekly kickboxing classes for a major corporate gym. When I asked them for a six-month intermission with the allowance to come back onto a subbing schedule when I returned, they replied:
"Personal leaves are not granted for purposes of school. Please resign and reapply when you return."
Seriously? I did not appreciate the fact that I had dedicated myself to this gym, only to be forced to resign for wanting to better my education. I didn't even expect to retain my classes when I returned, I just wanted to know that the company supported my excursion and would want to continue our relationship. I was dedicated to them and I had gotten my hopes up thinking it was a mutual feeling.
I guess it was too much to ask for.
Create a company with a strong and meaningful purpose.
43.9 percent of general students want to work for a company that has a "purpose-driven culture aligned with my personal values", whereas only 39.7 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) students felt that way.
At the end of the day, create a company that you care about and provide a product that is bettering the world. This is a surefire way to bring in interested employees and also keep them fighting for a bigger purpose when things get hard in the office.
As I begin to search for key founding team members for my gym, I always make sure to share the bigger picture. Yes, we are training people and getting them fit.
The bigger mission? We're inspiring people to change their lives through movement. If you can get yourself motivated enough to at least show up to class, we'll take care of the rest. We'll inspire you to not only achieve the push-ups and sprints you're about to do, but also all of the other seemingly impossible things in life.
When I can convey this message clearly to new hires, I know that they're fighting for the bigger cause right alongside me when things get hard.
Know that it's okay if you're not a big name brand. In fact, that's probably better.
The survey reported that only 33.7 percent of students cared about working for a brand name company to build their resume.
If you're not a so-called "brand name" company, have no fear. Focus more on your product and what you are creating for the world. That mission will attract new hires more than any name could.
To prove that point, one of my side hustles is working as a digital marketing manager for a litigation cost management company.
Never in my life would I have thought I'd end up in that industry, but their mission statement and my smart and kind-hearted colleagues is what keeps me around.
If you're a smaller company with a big heart and a big picture mindset, you'll be a-okay when it comes to finding and retaining top talent.