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Recruiting Across Generation Gap Starts with Decoding Millennials

recruiting millennials across generation gapANDREA TARRELL
HNI Marketing Director

For the first time in history, we have four generations working side by side in the workplace. Each generation brings its own unique skills and talents and demands different things from employers.

Many organizations are struggling to appeal to Millennials (people born after 1980). Communicating value across the generation gap is a challenge. As a card-carrying Millennial myself, a few things stand out as critical to attracting my peers:

Millennials Demand Flexibility

Every generation requires work-life balance, but many Millennials look at this a little differently. Work and life are integrated. Your life doesn’t switch off when you walk into the office — but on the flip side, neither does work when you leave for the day. Millennials are willing to work hard, but work best with the flexibility to set their own schedule.

Flexible scheduling, the ability to work remotely, and providing access to mobile and cloud-based tools are hugely attractive to this generation.

Industries like construction or manufacturing really struggle to provide this kind of flexibility because of the nature of their work. I believe that this is one of the factors at play with the talent gap in these industries.

Millennials Seek Appreciation

Millennials want to do work that means something and know that they’re part of an organization that really values their contribution. Not to stereotype, but we did grow up hearing the message that we were all special — and old habits die hard.

I’m not advocating for inflating egos — just suggesting that organizations that demonstrate sincere appreciation and recognition for their employees will come out ahead when it comes to attracting and retaining Millennials.

Millennials Want to Know 'The Why'

Millennials want to work for companies that are ethical and good stewards of the community. Does your organization have a cause that’s bigger than building the bottom line? What problem are you solving for your customers or what impact are you making on your industry?

As an HNI employee, I know that our corporate mission is to help companies tackle the wicked problems that pose a threat to their organizations and hold them back from realizing their potential. That’s a cause I can get behind, and I was sold on the “why” from my first interview here.

Millennials Need Feedback

More so than their predecessors, Millennials want feedback — the good, the bad, and the ugly. An annual review just doesn’t cut it. I’m seeing more companies incorporate multiple formal review processes at different times of the year or adopt social performance platforms such as Work.com that facilitate ongoing feedback.

A Final Thought

It’s of course impossible to describe every member of a generation with these broad generalizations, so take these suggestions with a grain of salt. But hey, while we’re on the subject of millennial recruiting — HNI is currently on the hunt for 4-6 talented young professionals to participate in our Sales and Advisory Development Program. Are you interested, or do you know a recent grad or professional with 1-3 years of experience who might be? Click here to discover more about our Sales and Advisory Development Program.

What has worked for you in recruiting and retaining the Millennial generation? What challenges have you faced? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Related Posts:

The Great Divide: Communicating Across The Generation Gap

Talkin’ About My Generation…

R - E - S - P - E - C -T! Bridging the Generational Gap

Why Your Employees Need to Understand 'The Why’


Photo by Robert Huffstutter via Flickr

Topics: Construction Transportation Manufacturing HR / Employee Benefits