To attract and retain (young) top-talents has always been an issue for companies. And the issue has not become smaller. Millennials currently represent 35% of the working population, and by 2020 they will represent 46%. These 18 – 37 year olds are the most wanted employee group ever.
Most top executives in today’s business community are +40, and almost all of them are lagging behind on one essential point. The digital. For this reason alone, we need Millennials. They grew up while media consumption went from TV, newspapers and video to online media. The digital world is an integrated part of their consciousness; they think digital, and exactly that is what we as leaders need in order to compete in a global digital market. But they are more than just digital, they have many qualities that companies need.
The challenge is that Millennials are harder to attract and retain than other employees. They put different demands on the workplace than we are used to. Bluntly said, they want a workplace where they can be part of a larger community, show their talent and not least make a difference.
So what should you as a leader be aware of in order to attract and retain Millennials?
First of all, Millennials do not thrive in a low-performance culture. Young ambitious employees want to work in an organization where the performance bar is set high. They want to have something to strive for, and they will quickly leave a company where the highlight of the day is lunch, closing-time or benefits like free trailer.
The community means everything for Millennials. For the uninitiated, young people’s many hours on the smartphone can seem like a lonely life. But the truth is that for Millennials, the online community is as much part of reality as the community with the family or a festival with thousands of other people. Millennials want to be part of an exciting team, by an inspiring culture, by a kind of “movement” with a common purpose.
Stock price, cash flow and earnings do not drive Millennials. Millennials want to make a difference. For customers, environment or the society. They want to contribute to a greater purpose which is more important than the company’s bottom line. Well, they know that the company must make money – they want to make money too – but Millennials want to change the world. They do not want to toil for the boss to get his new Mercedes.
Millennials expect to be reviewed on their results, and not on whether they are in the office from 8:00 to 16:00. They want to be able to work anywhere and at any time. For them, there is not a big gap between work and privacy. And they want a manager who can motivate, push the borders and think out of the box with them. They are constantly on their way to a place where they can show their talent and become part of an exciting team. Is their need for a community, purpose, recognition and flexibility not met, you can be sure that they are on their way out the door.
It takes its leader to make the most of your Millennials. And you must make it clear that they are not going to celebrate their 25th anniversary in the company. But it’s about giving them responsibility, mobility and having a clear purpose for the company. In return, you get innovation, results and a strong team of passionate employees who are on fire for what they do and who will take the company to new heights.
Thomas Honoré is Chief Executive officer and President of Columbus.