The foosball table in your breakroom is waiting. Your beer fridge and snack counter are fully stocked. But, those chairs in the office lobby remain empty—and you’re left with one big question on your mind: Where on Earth are all of the Millennials?
Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, and in the U.S., they represent the biggest segment in the workforce.
Sheer numbers alone illustrate just how important it is to attract and retain Millennial talent for your company. But, set those stats aside, and there’s another big reason you should be focused on getting them through your door: This generation includes some of today’s most innovative, driven and passionate workers. Once you get past those often-false stereotypes about Snapchat and job-hopping, you can start to tap the potential of this incredibly diverse group of potential employees.
That all sounds good, right? However, understanding how to attract this group to your company presents an entirely different challenge. And, being that 53% of hiring managers say that they have difficulty recruiting and retaining Millennial employees, we knew there had to be some common threads between what these companies are getting wrong.
So, if you’re doing your best to attract young talent and only hearing crickets in response, consider this your wake-up call. Here are three common reasons Millennials are taking one look at your careers page and immediately heading the other way.
Mistake #1: You Focus on Perks
The Fix: Be Clear About Core Values
While your first inclination might be to emphasize the endless perks your company offers, that 401k matching plan (or even the keg in your conference room) isn’t the key to inspiring Millennials to submit their applications.
What should you focus on instead? Making sure that your organization’s core values are made explicitly clear for potential employees.
Take Google—an obvious example of a company that could put its perks front and center. Who doesn’t like gourmet meals, massages, and slides? But instead, Google focuses its messaging on its careers page and social profiles on its values of impact, curiosity, and a drive to learn.
Why? More and more, people are actively seeking work that matters, and they want to get a sense of purpose and meaning from the work they’re doing. By making your company’s core beliefs and ideals a key part of your employer brand, you’ll ensure that you find candidates who are truly sold on your mission and excited about what you’re doing—and thus more likely to both apply and stick around.
Mistake #2: You Aren’t Detailing Paths for Advancement
The Fix: Show Talent You Care About Their Growth
What’s often perceived as “Millennial entitlement” is often just a desire for growth—and that’s not just a Millennial quality. Nobody wants an expiration date on their career. We all want to know that there are opportunities for advancement, learning, and professional development.
So, if you aren’t making those opportunities explicitly clear during your hiring process, can you really blame Millennials for running the other way?
Here’s an alarming stat: 44% of Millennials are looking to leave their jobs in the next two years. The key driver behind that decision? They don’t feel as if their employers are investing in them.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to demonstrate to potential employees (and current ones, too) that you are actively engaged in their success. Use real stories of team members in your office who have grown from entry-level to leadership roles. If you have mentorship and professional development opportunities, such as tuition reimbursement and company-sponsored classes, conferences, and workshops, highlight them throughout the hiring process. (And if you don’t, consider them sooner rather than later.) Be specific about the necessary steps to achieve short-term and long-term career goals.
Trust me—illustrating that you’re genuinely invested in your employees and eager to support them in their careers will go a long way.
Mistake #3: You’re Focused on the 9-to-5
The Fix: Promote (and Live) a Work-Life Balance
Go ahead and blame it on that cliché sense of entitlement you’ve grown so used to hearing about, but more and more people want to fit work into their lives—rather than build their lives around their work. After all, in today’s “always on” environment where employees are constantly tethered to work by their mobile devices, it needs to work both ways.
What does this mean for you? Well, employees don’t want to feel like they’re chained to their desks under the vigilant eyes of a quintessential clock-watcher. So, fostering and promoting a culture that emphasizes work-life balance and flexibility will work wonders.
Whether it’s occasional flexible work hours and location or an unlimited vacation policy , consider policies that you can implement and highlight to show that you both offer and value a healthy balance between work time and personal time. That’s a perk that will really grab and keep the attention of Millennials—and frankly, all generations.
There they are—three all-too-common mistakes that hold companies back from recruiting the Millennial talent they desperately want.
Did you find yourself nodding and thinking, “Wow, we could be doing that better!” while reading through these? Don’t panic yet—these are problems you can better understand and fix by grabbing our ebook all about Millennials.
Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of The Muse and loves helping people find careers they actually enjoy. She has spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on The TODAY Show and CNN, and contributes on career and entrepreneurship topics to the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Before founding The Muse, Kathryn worked on vaccine introduction in Rwanda and Malawi with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and was previously at the management consultancy McKinsey & Company.More from this Author