Young workers today face an increasingly tough job market, but this “millenial” generation also brings with it a suite of technological-savvy and social media skills often absent in the workplace. Raised, educated, and trained in a world that has always known the Internet and with an emphasis on digital media, mobile computing, and online environments, these young people offer rich opportunities for many businesses. However, the culture they represent and the skills they have resent challenges for established companies and their long-term employees. The entrenched worker and the millenial worker have much to learn from each other.
Companies that want to embrace a younger, tech-savvy workforce need to encourage their human resources departments to recruit where these younger jobseekers will see them. In many cases, young candidates emphasize the culture of a particular organization over the actual job description, so hiring managers need to pay attention to company branding and specific benefits that attract the best candidates. As a hiring manager, you want to attract the very best candidates and you have to stand apart. These younger job-seekers are open to job hopping so you want to lure them in to stay.
Traditionally, financial compensation in terms of salary and benefits is a major recruitment strategy. While younger workers, like their predecessors, still look at their take-home pay, job decisions are now based on many additional factors including social media access, choice of mobile device, and the ability to work remotely. This need for flexibility is a distinct difference from workers even a decade ago. Young workers expect to have this flexibility and recruiters need to know this to attract the best candidates.
The demarcation between work and personal life appears to be blurring. Younger candidates want full access to social media tools and sites while on work time. They prefer to be able to select their own mobile devices for work activities, and they expect to have some of the cost of such devices subsidized by the company. This merging of work and personal activities forces both human resource and information technology departments to rethink their recruitment and infrastructure strategies. More specifically, companies need to open up the way they do business, albeit while still being data secure and minimizing risk, in order to attract the top candidates.
The recruitment and hiring of younger workers can lead to unexpected cultural clashes with established workers. New hires versed in mobile computing, social media, and cloud computing, can be at odds with a workplace culture still dependent, at least at times, on photocopy and fax machines. The transition from college to a cubicle is always tough, but some companies are noticing increased stresses with newer generations. Mentor programs are recommended; pairing a new recruit with a seasoned veteran can yield positive results for both participants. Additionally, while tech-savvy recruits are strong on networking and the tools for communicating, they may need more guidance on completing tasks in an orderly fashion and on collaborating within a business environment.
Young workers need companies, just as companies need young workers. Both can learn from each other and benefit from opportunities. The first step is to realize that the millenial generation is not like the previous generation; the differences include even those workers hired just a decade ago. Emerging digital media tools and networks have radically altered the way young people learn, interact, and, more importantly, what they expect from work. Successful companies are those that can embrace these new avenues and harness the workers’ talents for the continued good of the business’ mission.