3 Tips for Hiring and Retaining Millennials

Jackson Lewis, Associate Editor


ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- “Hiring millennials, hiring people in general, is a huge issue,” said Gene Marks, president of the Marks Group and a columnist for The Washington Post.

Marks’ keynote presentation on the second day of the 2017 Conexxus Annual Conference, held April 23-27 in Annapolis, Md., focused on the challenges and unique details of attracting and retaining millennial talent. He pointed out that millennials now make up 50% of the workforce and that their priorities are different than past generations.

He said 72% of millennials want flexible work schedules and 68% want work-from-home options. This generation also includes the largest percentage of immigrants since the early 20th century, making them very diverse compared to other generations.

Click through for three tips on hiring and retaining effective millennial talent …

Get the job post right

Job posting

“The job post itself has changed when you’re looking for somebody between 18 and 34 years old,” Marks said.

Millennials don’t want to spend hours reading through job posts filled with corporate jargon. “Keep your job post conversational and avoid stale terms,” Marks said. He suggested keeping job posts somewhere between 400 and 800 words. He acknowledged that this doesn’t leave job posters a lot of breathing room, but it will hopefully help readers understand the needs of the position quickly and clearly.

He also urged attendees to make job posts search friendly. He pointed to online job search engines such as Indeed and Elevated Careers where millennials are spending a lot of time searching for work. He suggested including an eye-catching graphic on the job post to help the post stand out.

Marks said to be up front and realistic about the job and its expectations. “You have to make sure you avoid words like ‘nice to have’ vs. ‘must have,’ ” he said. It’s also important to be up front on the compensation offered for the job. Finally, he urged employers to ask for a cover letter as a way to get to know applicants.

They're all about the benefits

Healthcare benefits

“The No. 1 benefit the millennial generation wants is healthcare,” Marks said.

He said that one of the big reasons that Obamacare is struggling is because millennials aren’t participating in the government-run healthcare marketplace “because they want to spend their money on stupid things like student loans and mortgages,” he said sarcastically.

In order to both keep costs down and give millennials attractive healthcare options, Marks suggested offering hybrid plans with high deductible healthcare plans alongside health savings accounts.

While healthcare should be the main focus of the benefits package, Marks also spoke about the importance of paid time off (PTO) and creative benefits such as student-loan-debt reimbursement.

He pointed to benefit plans from a long list of companies, including Netflix, Salesforce.com and Hilton as sources of inspiration. Marks cautioned that while companies shouldn’t try to recreate the benefit plans of these companies, they should pick and choose which features work best for their business.

Rethink the HR process

Namely HR

Marks threw out a few choice statistics about millennials and their feelings about performance reviews:

  • 37% think the process is outdated
  • 25% feared their performance review
  • 64% want pay increases tied to reviews

He pointed to apps that help make the performance review process easier, such as Halogen Software, TrakStar and Reviewsnap, and said that feedback, while important for every employee, is highly valuable for millennials.

More broadly, he also suggested business leaders look into different HR applications, including Zenefits, Paychex, ADP, Namely, Bamboo, SuccessFactors and Gusto.

Finally, he said productivity apps, programs that help facilitate communication and productivity between employees, are also effective tools to help retain millennial employees. He suggested any business using Microsoft products check out Microsoft Teams, and offered Slack as another good communication tool.

Conexxus is a nonprofit, member-driven technology organization dedicated to the development and implementation of standards, technologies innovation and advocacy for the convenience-store and petroleum market. Members collaborates on key industry challenges and innovations. Its efforts seek to improve profitability by reducing the cost of IT ownership and improving the competitiveness of its members.