Skip to main content

Getting the Most From Your Millennial Workforce


CHARLESTON, S.C. — In a recent survey, one-third of millennials said they would quit their job if an employer asked them to delete their Facebook page. This is evidence enough that there are some big differences between Generation Y and other generations, and poses the question: What does this mean for your company?

To answer that question as well as what it takes to “design, develop, engage and empower the workforce of tomorrow,” Keith Webb, software as a service (SaaS) technologist for Ultimate Software, discussed what the generational divide means for companies in webinar hosted by PeopleMatter, entitled “Designing the Workforce of Tomorrow: Four Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Millennial Team Members.”

PeopleMatter is a provider of workforce solutions and business intelligence tools, built specifically for service industries. Convenience store clients include Flash Foods Inc., Robinson Oil Corp. and Tedeschi Food Shops. 

Webb opened his presentation by citing that a recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans aged 18 and older who are employed or seeking employment revealed that adoption of consumer mobile and social technologies is changing the expectations of the entire workforce, regardless of age. He broke this down into three key components of understanding how generations interact and perceive information in the workforce:

  • Everyone’s expectation of HR technology is fast;
  • Everyone expects technology to be efficient and not waste their time (i.e., no data re-entry); and
  • Support for and visibility into his/or her career path is critical for all generations.

Pre-conceived notions can begin before someone is even hired based on a company’s website, according to Webb. “Companies that have poorly designed websites that are difficult to navigate, that require duplicate data entry and those types of things [are ways to form] an opinion about your company culture based on your presentation in the media world.”

Other surprising new workforce realities that extend across generations include:  

  • An employer’s website is the No. 1 way job seekers today want to apply for a position, more than from job boards, LinkedIn or recruiters;
  • One in three job seekers will quit an application if they have to fill out the same piece of information more than once;
  • Almost 40 percent of applicants won't spend more than one minute reviewing a job application; and
  • More than half of job seekers today rate the speed of the application process as their top priority.

Another key factor Webb noted is that three out of four millennials (72 percent) want to know about a plan for career path and development before they are hired. Notably, more than twice as many millennials than non-millennials want to know about their career path before they even apply for the job.

“The traditional career path looks like a ladder,” Webb said. “It’s critical to have career visibility across the ecosystem.” Information to questions like where the job will take millennials is crucial and should be included on the company’s website.

Once hired, 73 percent of all employees want to know why they were hired over other candidates. “It’s a competitive group of folks out there,” Webb said. “So they want to know what did I say or do, what qualities did I bring that made me a better candidate over all the rest of the candidates that you interviewed?”

Based on the hiring process, one-third of employees claim to know whether or not they could stay at their company for two years or more in the first week, and three in five (63 percent) say they realize this within the first month of work. This speaks to whether or not the hired employee had a positive onboarding experience or not, Webb explained.

Human Capital Management

“It’s clear that a new workplace reality is taking hold. This new reality is increasingly driven by millennials, generational differences in the workplace and emerging technology trends that cut across industries,” Webb stated.

Therefore, companies should consider implementing the following:

  • Reposition recruiting and the job application process. The process has to begin on the company’s website and meet the needs of the candidate. “The war on talent is getting greater every year, and the ability to reposition the recruiting process is going to be of significance,” Webb said.
  • Apply with social media profile in seconds. This can be a key differentiator and gives companies a competitive edge by having the ability for a candidate to apply for a position through social media.
  • Quick-hit communications. Noting back to how 73 percent of millennials want to know why they were hired for a job, this is a good way to use “their” technology and say “good job” on a project or “thanks for stepping up when we needed you.”

The most important human capital management change Webb addressed, though, was performance reviews. Nowadays, millennials are used to more interaction with the screens of their mobile devices or tablets, so the days of uncomfortable one-on-one performance reviews are gone, he said. What successful employers are now doing is using a technological medium as a focal point for employees to see what it is they are contributing to the company.

“By looking at that screen together, you’ll completely eliminate that discomfort of the millennials,” Webb said.

He closed his presentation by saying technology is fast becoming the No. 1 tool that divides or bridges generations, and companies must adapt to these new expectations to remain competitive.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds