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Business Journal
Millennial Employees: Flight Risk for Companies
Business Journal

Millennial Employees: Flight Risk for Companies

by Brandon Rigoni and Bailey Nelson
Millennial Employees: Flight Risk for Companies

Story Highlights

  • Technology drives millennials' company research
  • Understanding how millennials seek jobs is key to attracting them
  • Companies need to actively promote their brands

Six in 10 millennials say they're open to different job opportunities, and only 50% plan to be with their company one year from now. For most companies, millennials are a "flight risk."

Given this, organizations need to recognize how millennials search for and select employers -- and then develop and promote their brands accordingly to attract them.

Of chief importance in understanding millennial job seekers is their behavior as consumers of workplaces. That is, millennials do a lot of homework on prospective employers, gathering information to form opinions on an organization's brand and what it would be like to work there.

Millennials want to be deeply interested in their work, receive opportunities for advancement and work with managers who develop them. They also possess the hyperconnectedness through a continuous flow of digital information to hunt down the companies that provide the job attributes they want.

Extremely Digitally Connected

It should come as no surprise that technology is the primary facilitator of millennials' job research: 81% of millennials indicate that they view the websites of organizations they're interested in. And a majority (62%) report that they conduct a general web search to learn about job opportunities.

Indeed, millennials are extremely digitally connected, and smartphones have become a ubiquitous accessory for them. Gallup found that 91% of millennials owned smartphones in 2013, compared with 83% of those in older generations. And compared with other generations, millennials are:

  • almost 40% more likely to say they sent or read email messages "a lot" within the past day

  • 2.5 times more likely to say they posted or read messages on Facebook, Instagram or another social media site "a lot" within the past day

  • 11 times more likely to say they used Twitter, including posting or reading tweets, "a lot" within the past day

  • more than 2.5 times more likely to say they sent or read text messages "a lot" within the past day

Especially when it comes to how millennials look for jobs, their digital connectedness is clearly something organizations need to build strategies around.

Millennials also rely heavily on their social circles to evaluate companies. Similar to when they're shopping around for a product such as an insurance policy, millennials desire input from family and friends. Roughly 75% of millennials indicate that they seek suggestions from family or friends and obtain referrals from current employees of an organization.

Needed: The Right Brand Strategy for Millennials

Unfortunately, while most companies spend a great deal of time, money and effort developing their customer messaging to promote their products, many don't invest the necessary strategic effort in crafting their organizational brand to attract top talent. Everything a company communicates -- from commercials and billboards to websites -- reflects the company's brand, culture and the type of employee experience it offers.

To attract the best workers, organizations need brand strategies that account for millennials' motivation and ability to find the best employers -- especially considering that millennials currently make up 38% of the U.S. workforce, and some estimate that they will make up as much as 75% of it by 2025.

Companies should start by thoroughly understanding how millennials search for information -- from the websites they visit to the social media accounts they follow. It's also critical that leaders discover what millennials want in an employer, such as opportunities to learn and grow and great managers. Then, companies should carefully develop and strategically promote their brand and culture so that it's easy for job prospects to choose them over the competition.

Download Gallup's latest report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, to get further insight into what millennials really want from a job, manager and company.

Brandon Rigoni, Ph.D., is a former Associate Director for Selection and Development at Gallup.
Bailey Nelson is a writer and editor at Gallup.

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