Developing the Right Strategy to Attract Millennial Talent

May 19, 2015 | 2174 Views

Developing the Right Strategy to Attract Millennial Talent

Doreen VanGorp

Millennials are much more productive than they are given credit for. They are highly engaged in any meaningful work that aligns with their passions, and are socially conscious and loyal to organizations that value a culture of caring. Being the first generation to grow up with computers in their homes, millennials are technologically proficient and inherently effective networkers and communicators of your brand, making them natural recruiters of top talent.

I became interested in learning more about millennials when my children, now 23 and 21, started working. Knowing the characteristics of this generation, I often pondered, “How do we attract them to work for us and continue to keep them engaged in the hospitality workforce?”

By 2020, nearly half the workforce in the U.S. will be composed of millennials (those born after 1981). Also known as the “Me” generation, millennials display such traits as confidence and tolerance, and they believe that the best years are yet to come. They are socially conscious, upbeat, ready to take on challenges and are always open to change. Companies like Toyota, IBM and Deloitte are already spending up to 3 percent of their revenue to attract millennial talent. So what can we, in the hospitality industry, do to attract this important talent pool?

  1. Be where they are…Be it Twitter, Snapchat, Vine or Instagram, social media is integral to these young professionals, and developing a “talent or employment brand” is becoming just as important as building your company’s brand.
  2. Be caring…Millennials are looking for purposeful work and a means to be socially conscious. In a recent study of more than 1,500 millennials, over 50 percent said that a company’s involvement in social causes influenced whether or not they accepted a job. It is not the top deciding factor, but ranks number three behind what a company does and its work culture. It’s important to ask about their aspirations and objectives, and share details of your culture, on the very first meeting.
  3. Be flexible in scheduling…Millennials resist being “9 to 5” employees and desire freedom to work remotely (from home). According to Mercer Hospitality, there are some companies that are even allowing associates to choose their own holidays.
  4. Be generous…Offer a good compensation package—millennials often have large college debts to pay. But salary is not the only compensation they desire. Perks that cost little money, such as consistent feedback, bring-your-pet-to-work day, casual dress code, free Starbucks, Friday beer cart, gaming consoles, stocked pantry and massage therapy, are also appreciated.
  5. Be attentive…Reduce the time it takes to hire—from application to interview to offer letter. These young professionals are eager to get started and will move on quickly if they don’t feel you are being proactive. Delaying hiring decisions may cost you strong candidates. Even if you don’t hire them (and more than 80 percent you won’t), they are also your potential guests. During the interview process, make sure you ask them what they think about your environment or property and what could be improved on.

Developing specific strategies to target this millennial talent is sound investment. Whether or not you agree that millennials are poised to be the next great generation, they are a great talent pool for your lodging company. Tapping into their limitless reserves of energy, technical skill, collaborative tendencies and “entrepreneurial” zeal can drive your business forward.

Doreen VanGorp is people service manager at First Hospitality Group. She is an active member of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART).

This blog first appeared as an article on page 12 of the April 21, 2015 edition of Hotel Management.

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