How to Attract and Retain Generation Y: Interview with Business Insider | Lindsey Pollak's Blog

How to Attract and Retain Generation Y: Interview with Business Insider

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Karlee Weinmann of Business Insider to discuss a hot topic these days: how to attract and retain Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials). As Karlee notes in her introduction, I split my time between teaching Gen Ys how to get jobs with employers  and teaching employers how to hire and retain Gen Ys.

Karlee asked some pretty provocative questions and I was happy to give my honest answers. Here is an excerpt…

BI: Why is it important to give [Generation Y] consideration in hiring?

LP: Demographically, they are as big as — and will probably become a bigger generation than — the Baby Boomers. This is the future of your organization, this is the future of your customer base. They’re turning 30, they’re no longer kids.

BI: Is there anything employers can do to retain young talent? Or is that just not something this generation is looking for?

LP: I think we have to realign what retention is. There’s a trend going on now called boomeranging, which is that you might go work for a company for two or three years, and then you do something else, and come back later in your career. I think more companies will start to think of employees as lifetime relationships who may not stay straight through their careers, but will come back at specific points.

The concept of retention is really going to change over the next decade or so, in that it’s not really the expectation — particularly at the beginning of the career path, within the first ten years or so.

BI: What hiring strategies just don’t work with Generation Y?

LP: I get a lot of frustrated calls from Gen Ys when they feel they’re applying into a black hole, and that the process takes too long. They really prioritize speed, so the fact that hiring has traditionally taken weeks and weeks, if not months, is a big turnoff to Gen Ys.

They’re used to the world working at internet speed, so [taking too much] time is probably the biggest mistake that a company could make if it wants to attract Millennials.

Read the full interview, “Generation Y Isn’t Impressed With Your Pension Plan And Doesn’t Have Time For Your Hiring Process,” here.

Image: iStockphoto

  1. Steve F says:

    Part of generation Y’s problem is their own doing. As an employer who hired more than a few of this generation, I was less than impressed with their entitlement mentality, and seeming disrespect for those who had spent years in the trenches, learning and perfecting their craft.

    True, not all exhibited this attitude, yet there were more than a few who thought the world owed them, and by the way, they should be running the company by this time next year.

    In addition, unlike the days of yore, few expect to stay at a job for any significant length of time, but would rather seek new opportunities and shop their talents to the highest bidder.

    Some companies have mitigated this to an extent, primarily with a dynamic assortment of benefits such as on site child care, gyms, flex time, telecommuting, and paid health care ( a rarity these days). They craft an enjoyable work environment which keeps top talent close, and then reward them with more traditional incentives such as pay and bonuses.

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Steve – Thank you for sharing your experience. Since Gen Y is the only group of young people we have, I think it’s worth exploring strategies to help them become the great employees we need now and in the future. I’ve dedicated this blog to that cause. Please share any suggestions or successes you have as well!

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