Tips for attracting Gen Y

April 10, 2017 -  By

is_91007515_atthecomputerYield higher quality applicants by understanding young workers.

I know, I know…millennials are lazy, tree-hugging, coffee-swilling liberal hipsters, right? Also known as Gen Y and “Generation Me,” this group of potential employees is believed to be difficult to attract and almost impossible to retain for any length of time. But that’s not necessarily so. Research indicates that if you put in the work to understand this breed of employee, you can find some diamonds in the rough.

If I had to choose just one thing to attract millennials, I’d build the most unbelievable, fun company culture I could. I’d sink a ton of money into making sure every employee had a great day, every day. I’d have my competition’s employees lining up to apply for jobs at my company because they heard about how awesome it was to work here. I’d let potential superstar applicants talk to my crew members so they could hear about my great company straight from the horse’s mouth.

To build an exciting company culture, try new things, try not to be like every other landscape company and try to have a fantastic time. If you do these things well, you’ll rarely have to search for great applicants. Word will spread quickly that if potential employees want to work for the best, they should apply for jobs at your company.

Building a company culture like the one I’m describing takes time, effort and money, but the results will be outstanding. Plus, you’ll achieve two great returns for the price of one. First, current employees will be happy, and happy employees generally do outstanding work. Second, your recruiting will start to yield a higher quality applicant.

The simple fact is millennials do their research. They want to work for the best company, not the first one to offer them a job. So, are you going to keep recruiting the way you always have, or are you ready to shake it up, have some fun and open the floodgates to the best applicants?

We recently surveyed a 25-employee service company that was staffed entirely with millennials. The results fell in line with results we’ve seen from other companies staffed heavily with millennials.

Following are five benefits to ponder if you’d like to attract and retain millennials.

1. Flexible schedules. The staff overwhelming desired more flexible schedules. Requests included shorter workdays, time off when their children were sick and a three-day workweek. The best way to solve this problem is to implement a job-sharing program. In essence, if you have full-time slots for 15 workers, hire 20 to 25 workers and divide the available hours among them. Using part-time employees this way lessons your chances of being understaffed on any given day and might mean you can reduce government-mandated benefits paid to full-time employees.

2. Community involvement. More than 50 percent of the staff said they’d like to see their company be more involved with volunteerism in their community. Make sure you involve your employees when choosing where the company will volunteer. Dictating which causes receive the benefits of your company’s goodwill can cause your employees to reject being involved. Find a common interest.

3. Insurance. The majority of respondents requested dental, vision and life insurance. The majority of your employees are looking for these traditional benefits. Find a qualified insurance broker, and let it do the work to shop for the best rates for your company.

4. Paid vacation. This was the No. 1 most requested (75 percent of employees) benefit in the survey. Many millennials live paycheck to paycheck, but they also place a high priority on time with their families. This means that even though they value time away from work, most can’t afford to lose that week of pay while they’re gone.

5. Social activities. There was significant interest in creating more opportunities for social events with coworkers outside of work. Most respondents indicated they wanted to include their families in these events, too. Consider ideas like an evening at the bowling alley, a day on the lake or a get-together at the local pizza place. These don’t have to be expensive events. Again, involve your team when selecting the type of event to ensure a good turnout.

Put in the work, and start making changes now to attract these tech-savvy, curious and creative millennials. They can even be fiercely loyal if they love the work they do, are constantly challenged and believe their company is making a difference—not just a profit.

Photo: ©istock.com/SamuelBrownNG

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