Recruiting, Retaining, and Understanding the Millennial Workforce
September 28, 2016
The generation born between 1981 and 1996 became a workforce majority this year. Called Generation Y, or “millennials,” this workforce is remaking the workplace in its own image and with its own distinct voice.
Accepting the realities of this workforce’s desires in a career and an employer will help you recruit this generation’s top talent. Diversifying where you source candidates and how you utilize social media will enhance your candidate pool and improve your employment brand.
Over the last five years, millennials have been the darlings of business media because they can be reported on as a good- or bad-news story. They have been portrayed as problem hires, parent-coddled divas, tech- and multi-tasking godsends or as saviors to the U.S. economy.
Regardless of the media’s opinion, the reality is employers will need to adjust to drive the highest productivity.
Establish Your Social Media Presence
No matter your operational set-up, hotel size, brand affiliation or market, every hotel team should create a professional and compelling social media-based recruitment presence.
By utilizing LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can build the foundation for your unique recruitment message and create a great first impression. You can then use portals, such as Glassdoor and indeed.com, to foster and protect your company’s reputation.
LinkedIn: The Mothership
LinkedIn is to professional networks what Facebook is to your social networks. The following timeline displays the number of LinkedIn members from the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2016, in millions. During the most recently reported quarter, LinkedIn had 450 million members, up from 414 million members in the preceding quarter.
© Statista 2016
View LinkedIn as your “mothership” or central spot for company information, career openings and brand recognition. Establishing a professional, motivational and concise Career Page is free and will help your brand create a great impression on LinkedIn.
Just in this past quarter, LinkedIn reported the number of active job listings to be 6.5 million jobs. The most effective Career Pages have updated content on how the company impacts its community, fosters a team environment and offers talented new hires unlimited growth potential. LinkedIn can also serve as your central spot for candidate connections and industry associations.
The following strategies will help you get the most out of LinkedIn:
- Research complementary industries from which to source candidates.
- Utilize advanced search functions to source strong candidates.
- Initiate conversations with potential candidates using InMails with a “Your Profile / Experience Impressed Us” message.
- Establish a presence as an authority within your industry with weekly posts regarding your brand or general positives of your industry.
- Recognize team promotions and work anniversaries.
- Create an entry-level counter sales or service role that defines the career path and general progression through the organization.
By implementing these strategies, your profile will remain active and potential candidates will get a better understanding of what you, your company and, most importantly, your industry is all about.
Scheduling LinkedIn posts two to three times per week will keep your audience engaged. Research has shown that it is most effective to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
Facebook: The Culture Communicator
Facebook has more than 1.5 billion users. One out of five people on earth are on Facebook. If you don’t know Facebook, I recommend that you reset your cave’s wireless router.
Although many people feel that Facebook provides users a clear break between their work and private lives, many job seekers start their career search on a company’s Facebook site. According to a 2015 Jobvite survey, nearly 70% of job seekers turn to Facebook first for basic information about a potential employer. View Facebook as your first impression and your cultural ambassador. It is easy to use and easy to post content.
The following strategies will help you get the most out of Facebook:
- Celebrate team events, positive results and individual team recognition.
- Highlight your products and services; show off your fleet.
- Communicate community involvement and support.
- Post customer service letters and client testimonials.
- Establish a posting schedule for new career opportunities.
When posting career opportunities for counter agents or service agents, create a current team member professional bio that highlights a top performer and shows the positives of the role.
To engage your audience via Facebook, it is suggested that you post daily. Utilizing an inexpensive service like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Buffer will allow you to archive your content, post and repost at strategic parts of the day.
If you do not have a dedicated marketing or recruitment resource within your operation, appoint someone within your firm to own this opportunity. Stress the importance of this employee’s role as an ambassador and measure his or her success by candidate impressions as well as friend and “like” count growth.
Twitter: A Day in the Life
If social media is your family, LinkedIn would be your well-respected and professionally connected parent, while Twitter would be your wild, impulsive cousin with a limited attention span that has a lot of friends.
Twitter capitalizes on very short and digestible messages of 140 characters or less. Twitter allows you to create for candidates a real-time inside look at your company’s culture, making people want to work for you.
The following tactics will help you get the most out of Twitter:
- Encourage team members to tweet your career openings and links to your job descriptions.
- Share news and positive events that expose people to your culture.
- Harness the power of a hashtag (#); link the words “jobs” or “culture” to your posts.
- Post short videos using video-sharing service Vine that celebrate a day in the life of your company.
- Reward followers who retweet your recruitment comments and open positions.
- Stay connected with candidates via Twitter and thank them after the interview via Twitter.
Twitter and Instagram are very effective at capturing a candidate’s imagination. The most effective recruitment-related tweets should include a visual and motivational message.
Glassdoor and indeed.com: Protecting Your Reputation
Building a positive online recruitment message is the first part of the opportunity, while the next and equally important part in protecting your company’s reputation.
Web portals such as Glassdoor and indeed.com provide both recruiters and candidates a central information hub for the company, salary, interview protocols, and overall company culture. They are to job openings and the recruitment process as TripAdvisor and Yelp are to hotel and restaurant reviews.
If you have not visited Glassdoor or indeed.com, stop reading this article and research what candidates post about your company, your brand, and even better — your competitors. It can be eye-opening and soul-searching.
These Glassdoor and indeed.com tactics will help you protect your company’s reputation:
- Link your Glassdoor profile to your LinkedIn and Twitter pages.
- Personalize the user experience by using Glassdoor’s custom landing page option.
- After the 90- and 180-day reviews, request that your team members rate your company.
- Promote hiring events and recruitment road shows.
- Viewing these portals as information resources instead of constructive noise will help you craft your recruitment message and protect your reputation.
The Tiered Interview Process
Focusing on your selection process — and the role a millennial is applying for — will ensure that you and the candidate do not have a post-hire “buyer’s remorse.” We recommend implementing a three-tiered interview process.
Stage-one interviews are brief interactions that serve more as a general screening process to review the career opportunity and check for mutual understanding.
The second stage is a more complex face-to-face interview that involves open-ended questions and behavioral-based questions.
The final interview, what we call the “Vision Interview,” entails a brief meeting with the most senior leader within the organization and the candidate.
Viewing your recruitment and induction time period as one continuous timeline will protect your brand while securing and retaining the new team member.
Tips for Millennial Retention
“They are easy to recruit but hard to retain.”
This truism was shared by a participant at a conference in Hollywood, Fla. last November in response to a question about how attendees felt about their millennial workforce. Regardless of the type of hotel operation you run, this is a common challenge for the hospitality industry.
To retain millennial new hires, implement the following practices:
- Establish a disciplined interview process and maintain the induction period for longer than one month.
- Ensure that all new team members understand their sense of purpose in their roles and the “why” behind what the company does.
- Pair the new team member with a developing mentor for the first 90 days.
- Ensure your new hire training has peer-assisted and gamification learning activities as part of induction training.
- Understand each new team member’s preferred learning and communication style via personality profile and relationship strategies programs.
- Respect and enhance their individual vacation and personal time off.
- Provide titles and roles with clear reporting lines.
- Speak to their sense of team ego and acceptance: introduce new associates with “Welcome Aboard” messages and memos and provide them business cards as soon as possible.
- 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020, representing a full 40% of the total working population. (Forbes / Intelligence Group)
- 89% of millennials would prefer to choose when and where they work rather than being placed in a 9-to-5 position. (Odesk)
- 56% of millennials won’t accept jobs from companies that ban social media. (Cisco)
- 45% of millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. (M Branding)
- Average tenure for millennials is two years, compared to five years for Gen X and seven years for baby boomers. (PayScale.com 2014)
- 91% of millennials expect to stay in a job fewer than three years. (Forbes)
- 64% of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love rather than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring. (Glassdoor 2015 Recruitment Survey)
Foster Your Culture
Over the past ten years, FPG has published nearly a dozen articles pertaining to the art and science of recruitment. During that time, it has been interesting to see how the Recession, economic comeback, explosion of social media, and evolution of the “gig” (freelance service provider) economy has forced the hospitality industry to change their strategies on recruitment.
What has not changed since 2007 is the impact your company culture has on recruiting and retaining your people. Before you look at what you are doing to attract top talent, regardless of the age demographic, you have to look inside to understand what your culture is about, how you do things—good or bad—and most importantly, how your people feel about the work they do day in and day out.
You can have the best recruitment strategies, talent resources, and social media tactics in the world, but if you don’t have a great culture, your recruitment energies will be wasted.
If you are in need of quality candidates, don’t worry, you are not alone. Your competitors have the same challenges, and other industries feel the same pain. Your ability to implement these strategies in a proactive fashion will help you find the right team members and understand how to retain them.