by Orla Cruise, Senior Account Manager specialising in Employer Branding, Atomic DNA.
In the last number of years, the way we attract talent has changed, and a lot of organisations have to play catch up to make sure they don’t get left behind. A big part of this is due to how millennials view the world and how they interact with organisations. The millennials aren’t going away though, and they are your biggest asset pool. You can’t ignore them, so you’ll have to change to attract them.
Changes like this can be daunting, however, especially when you’re dealing with millennials because the rules are different. Below I outline 5 areas that you should be looking at when you’re changing your practices and highlight some actions that can make transitioning easier.
1. Candidate Motivations
First off we should dispel a myth: “Millennials are not motivated by money.” Money indeed motivates them. Maybe not as much as previous generations but they still have similar pressures to the rest of us. Rent, holidays, past times and hobbies all need to be paid for. What has changed is how important other aspects of employment have become so it’s easy to see why there might be a perception that money isn’t a motivator.
All this means is that when millennials are looking for work, their search is more holistic than previous generations. Salary is obviously key but they are also concerned about the organisation’s profile and whether it will fit their criteria.
Millennials will look beyond the job spec and try to find out more information about you as an organisation, and social channels are one of the easiest ways to do this. So while you may have a policy of looking at their social outputs, be aware that they probably have a similar policy.
Work/Life balance is something we all look to achieve, but while previous generations might have been ok with blowing off dinner plans, younger generations are far less willing. If you promise Work/Life balance, you have to strive to achieve it.
One area of this is the ability to have flexibility in their hours and being able to work remotely. You have to trust them, and they have to feel trusted. While an office environment is obviously very important, millennials are happy to work from other locations, and for lots of them, it’s essential that they can have that freedom.
Action 1: Review your social channels and see what kind of content is being put out. Interrogate that content and ask if it will attract people. Does it show the organisation’s culture, its people and all the great things that you do?
Action 2: Look at your work practices and roles. If it’s feasible that some of the work can be done remotely, then consider allowing people to work from home one day a week or so.
Your content should seek to engage, entertain or inform potential recruits.
As an organisation, you have positive stories to tell. Your job is to identify them and then present them in a way that they’ll resonate. The goal of these stories isn’t to get thousands of video views; it’s about acting as a tipping point that will help you secure the best talent. You want people to view these videos and be happy that working for you fits with their own goals and morals.
This content is a method of showing off who you are, what you do and how you do it. It’s also a method of showing off the things that you do that people don’t always get to see. Not everyone wants to see it. But the people that do want to be motivated to engage with you about a job. If you’re getting low views but great ‘view to end’ rates, it means the right people see your content, and that is what is most important.
One of the big issues with content is that organisations create content to appeal to senior stakeholders instead of the people they’re trying to attract. The content style you chose has to appeal to this group. If you’re spending thousands of euro to create a video that speaks to your stakeholders more than it does the people you’re trying to attract, you’re wasting money as well as missing an opportunity.
And it’s not just the style that you need to question. Younger generations check and switch between channels multiple times per hour. Their attention span for content is much shorter than it was before, and you will also be competing for their attention. Content, whatever the format, needs to be concise and get the point across in the quickest way possible.
Action 1: Don’t be confined to creating video. Look at the channels you’re using and what kind of content is getting engagement. Consider using blog posts, gifs, infographics and Podcasts, for example.
We spoke about giving potential employees the option of working remotely. While it does mean they’re not in the office all the time, the truth is that there has never been a more connected workforce. And this is also true of the people you’re looking to recruit. Whether it’s Slack, Email, Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger this group are very open to getting information and requests in these channels.
Email remains a crucial channel for millennials when it comes to conversing with companies. From their initial contact for their application through the recruitment process, millennials will receive content in this form in a mostly positive light.
Even if people aren’t initially successful with their application, it is possible that they will be open to content about other roles as well as culture and values based information. This encourages them to have a more long-term view of working with you.
How people communicate with organisations has also changed, and the most obvious way this can be seen is in CVs. Don’t discount a person because their CV doesn’t meet your expectations of what a CV should be.
This content doesn’t necessarily need to be solely relevant to the organisation but can also be relevant to the sector or the specialities within the sector.
Action 1: If people are unsuccessful in an application do you simply send a PFO and leave it at that? If so, consider an outreach programme that keeps people up to date about things happening in your organisation. That way, if something that is more suitable to them comes up, they’re more likely to reapply.
Well constructed sites that offer more than just a list of the roles available will increase return visits. Joining an organisation is no longer a short-term decision.
One area where lots of organisations fall down is their recruitment sites. Information can be difficult to find and the application process can be trying. Younger generations are very unforgiving of websites that put barriers in their way, and unless they’re desperate for a job or to work for you, then you will find that they are abandoning the process and moving on.
Good careers sites will identify the roles available and make applying as easy as possible. They’ll also make it easy for applicants to come back time after time to see if there are other roles of interest to them. Remember, your website is the first real interaction they’ll have with your organisation. If the experience isn’t good, they’ll expect the rest of the experience to be the same.
Another consideration is the use of dynamic pages within your site. Working with companies like Clinch and leveraging talent acquisition technology, you can deliver the right kind of content to the right kind of people. Tracking people’s journey through your site means you can deliver them to the right pages, meaning their experience on your site is much cleaner and more personal.
Action 1: Review your website with a clear and unbiased viewpoint. Identify the areas that you’re falling down on and fix them. It may require a new site, but think of this as an investment in your organisations future.
5. Support your efforts
The internet isn’t free. When you were putting ads in the Times you were paying for them because you knew it got you in front of the right people. Well, the same holds today. If you want to attract the right people, then you’ve got to get your content in front of them. Whether that’s through social media or sponsored posts on sites like thejournal.ie or inews.co.uk, you need to support your efforts with paid media.
The level of targeting available to you on social networks means you can get your content in front of the right people with a solid cost-benefit ratio. Social recruiting is big with the next generation, and your competitors are doing it. If you don’t, you’ll fall behind in the race.
Action: Create a paid media budget, especially for social media.
The above is a guide, and while it won’t help you transition, it can provide you with some food for thought.
About the author
Orla Cruise is a Senior Account Manager specialising in Employer Branding, at Atomic DNA. She has worked on various brands’ recruitment marketing & internal comms strategies, such as EY, Grant Thornton, Bank of Ireland and Aer Lingus.