How to recruit, retain and understand millennials

Many business owners have avoided investing in the younger generation, but millennials can offer a wide range of qualities that should not be overlooked.

Flexibility, diversity, entrepreneurship and digital knowledge are all valuable assets to a company – and are assets that Generation Y are certainly not lacking.

Because of their size, smaller and medium size, companies often actually need staff to be flexible – both with working hours, and also across the workplace (e.g. by working in different departments rather than solely in one area of the business).

This is appealing to younger, ambitious staff members as it can mean skills and talent are spotted more easily and staff can progress through the smaller companies much quicker.

>See also: Move over Millennials – we can drive digital transformation too, say older employees

Faster career progression is certainly a way that small and medium enterprises can encourage talented staff to remain within the firm. With larger companies, it can be more difficult for even the more ambitious employees to get promotions and progress through the company.

In a recent survey by Deloitte, 44% of millennials said, if given the choice, they would leave their current employers in the next two years.

A perceived lack of leadership-skill development and feelings of being overlooked are compounded by larger issues around work-life balance, the desire for flexibility, and a conflict of values.

The survey showed that millennials want to make contributions to a firm’s success, so SMEs are in a better position than most large organisations to make this happen.

But what else are the millennial generation looking for when job hunting? According to a number of recent studies, they show far more interest than older generations in the selection of employee benefits on offer.

This is a much more cautious and risk-averse group than their predecessors. Conscious of current economic conditions, these are long-term planners, eager to save enough to own their own homes, put their future off-spring through university, and enjoy a comfortable retirement. They are looking to their employers for a benefits package that will help achieve higher financial security.

This is further supported by research recently conducted by Wealth Wizards, the UK’s first online pensions adviser, in which 73% of 18-24 year olds said they were more likely to stay with a company that cares about their financial health and offers advice.

This indicates strongly that the younger generation expect their employer to understand and prioritise their values, but also to take on responsibility for supporting them with advice.

Seven in ten went as far as to claim it is irresponsible of companies not to provide employees with advice on pensions. Nearly half (47%) of 18-24 year olds claimed that, when job hunting, they actively look for employers that provide access to financial advice.

So what can businesses do to appeal to the values held by the millennial generation, in order to bring them on board and keep them engaged in the business?

Providing a compelling employee benefits package is essential, and will demonstrate the responsible-business behaviours that millennials seek out. Benefits to consider are flexible working, childcare vouchers (which are also cost-effective for small businesses), income protection, health insurance, and financial advice.

The responsibility of business owners to offer staff access to advice on how best to manage pension and retirement plans has become increasingly important following the introduction of pension freedoms and auto-enrolment.

>See also: 10 ways to keep Millennials happy in the workplace

No longer cost-prohibitive for SMEs, many employers are making financial advice accessible to all employees across their organisation via online advisers.

Entrepreneurial and ambitious, millennials can be invaluable to businesses and, thankfully, most SMEs recognise this.

In order to attract and retain the young, businesses need to demonstrate that they prioritise their people.

This can be done by addressing their needs – focusing on displaying responsible behaviours, and providing benefits packages that appeal to their values, including providing online tools and platforms that they are familiar with using outside of the workplace.

Providing the right access to financial advice, support and guidance is the key to engaging this generation for the long term.

Sourced from Andrew Firth, CEO, Wealth Wizards

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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