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You own your business.  You make the hiring and firing decisions.  But do you know what’s necessary for keeping today’s generation involved and invested in your company?

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Image credit: kylemac on Flickr

By 2014, the US workforce will be 34% Millennials with that number climbing to 46% by 2020.  As you look to your company’s future, its fate lies with this generation — and hey, that’s not a bad thing.  They bring a lot to the table. Your average Millennial is tech-savvy, self expressive, cost effective, and a team player.

So what can you do to hire yourself a good crop of Millennials?  Here are a few tips.

1. Provide training and the potential for career advancement

According to Forbes, Millennials are motivated by learning and growth, with 65% of them saying that they found the opportunity for personal development as the most important aspect of their employment.  What does that mean?  Don’t offer dead-end jobs.  If you simply can’t offer much in the way of advancement, then offer your Millennial employees training in related fields. Who knows? With their multi-tasking skills, you could end up getting a lot more work out of them than you expected.

2. Give them a challenge

Millennials are almost always up for a change and a new chance to test themselves. Sure, some things are going to be monotonous but do your best to vary tasks with more exciting and challenging ones. If you offer a Millennial a data-entry position, don’t be surprised if they turn it down (or leave after a few months) — even if the pay is good.

3. Offer them meaningful work – and let them know!

According to Undercover Recruiter, Millennials prefer to have meaningful work over high pay.   So don’t treat your new (or potential) Generation Y employees like unpaid interns. Give them work that clearly accomplishes something for your company — and tell them! Millennials are often feedback-driven.  Let them know that they would have an important position in your company.

4. Make sure you offer a work-life balance

Millennials are accustomed to living a busy life with a lot of different facets.  Working for your company is going to be a single facet. They’re not going to be like the Baby Boomers who are willing to work 60-70-80 hours a week.  Don’t get me wrong — Generation Y can be wonderfully productive, but they’ll want to work at their own pace, in a way that fits their life.  Let them know that you understand their need for a personal life.  Explore options like telecommuting, non-standard work hours, or even a results-only work environment.

5. Stay up-to-date with your technology

While earlier generations have adopted the digital age, Generation Y was born it. They grew up with it in their homes and their hands.  Keep your website/blog/twitter up-to-date.  As Dice said in their article on hiring Millennials, “Nothing screams ‘we don’t care about our company’ than a blog that hasn’t been updated in a year or a Twitter stream that doesn’t even have a personalized Twitter avatar.” If some of your prospective employees from Gen Y come poking around your site, you don’t want them thinking that you don’t care or are outdated.

6. International job opportunities or training

This one might seem a bit far-fetched, but if it’s something that you’re able to pull off, go for it! It’s long been true that young people like to travel — and Generation Y is no exception. According to a study done by PwC, 71% of Millennials want an overseas assignment during their career. With the opportunities presented by technology to do work from almost anywhere on the globe, it’s very attractive to send your new hirees off to your French or Italian office for training or their first assignment. Again, if you don’t have any connections overseas, that’s that – but if you do, take advantage of the Millennials’ wanderlust.

Bottom line:  Millennials are different — but in ways that can be game changers for your business. Don’t let the “difference” get in the way of taking advantage of their creativity, tech-savviness, and commitment to significance.

What do you have to offer Millennials?

  • Opportunity for advancement?

  • Specialized training?

  • Unique challenges?

  • Overseas opportunities?

  • What else?

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