3 Ways to Attract Millennials to Your Company

May 10, 2019

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, millennials are now the largest generation in the American workforce, at 36 percent. And though they often get a bad rap, especially for their proclivity to job-hop, millennials possess a wealth of positive traits that make them attractive employees.

The big question is how can companies — or even entire industries — attract younger talent? The answer may involve considerable change for some organizations, but reaching this tech-savvy, diverse, and collaborative generation is essential as companies move into the future.

Vocational fields ranging from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to financial services and insurance would do well to harness the recent growth among younger talent. Here are some ideas:

Highlight your company’s diversity and innovation

Showing that your company is moving forward is important for attracting young workers. And the under-40 set is seeking evidence of progress in many areas.

Millennials are the most diverse generation in today’s job market — and almost half consider whether a company has a diversity and inclusion program when making employment decisions, according to Forbes. But the millennial definition of diversity goes beyond the scope of race and gender, also encompassing different perspectives informed by a range of professional and geographic backgrounds, for example, which could fuel bigger and better ideas.

Being technologically progressive is also important. In a Microsoft poll cited by CIO, 93 percent of respondents said that a company’s adoption of current technology was extremely important. The same article referenced another study that found that the majority of millennials felt held back by slow or outdated applications.

Many CEOs are taking note. AF Group President and CEO Lisa Corless says that the organization uses technology to attract young talent in the earliest stages of recruitment.

“We share what we’re doing in the innovation space, whether it be robotics, artificial intelligence, or hack-a-thons, and once we get them in the door, we can say, ‘Okay, here are some of the exciting things you probably didn’t know were in the scope of an insurance company,’” explains Corless.

Create a culture welcoming to younger professionals

Flexible and remote work options are becoming more desired and prevalent, and a big reason why is that younger employees are demanding it. One in three millennials report that they prize work mobility over salary when accepting a position. The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that “highly flexible working arrangements enhance the degree of employee loyalty.” A majority — 77 percent — say they’re more productive when work hours are less rigid.

The ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with coworkers is also a big plus for younger employees. More than half say they prefer in-person communication to email or texting. Seventy-four percent report that they enjoy small-group collaboration, and a third feel that a lack of up-to-date systems for facilitating communication can stunt a company’s innovation.

AF Group Chief Actuary Becky Holnagel, who runs the youngest department within the organization, actively tries to build a dynamic environment that appeals to young workers. “We ask ourselves how to set up a culture that will attract that millennial staff,” she says, adding that this new workforce is essential for the future of the insurance industry, which is currently experiencing a slew of retirements.

Invest in your people and grow your talent

Along with the ability to work off-site, millennials are also seeking greater mobility in their own careers and value opportunities for professional development. In the Deloitte study, respondents who were receiving on-the-job training for Industry 4.0 (the fourth revolution of manufacturing) were more likely to say they intended to stay with their current organization for at least five years.

Accordingly, AF Group has a focus on building and grooming its workforce and reaching out to local high schools and colleges to create a talent pipeline. In a recent webinar, Corless explained that no matter the current qualifications of a prospective employee, showing them that there’s a place for them in the insurance industry is imperative. It’s the “soft skills” — the ability to work well with others and develop strong relationships — which can create the basis for strong employees. The rest can be developed with investment and experience.

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