How To Compete for Top Millennial Talent in 2016

  • Posted by: J. Kent Gervasini |
  • 2/6/16 |
  • 11:14 AM
How To Compete for Top Millennial Talent in 2016

When J. Kent Staffing opened its doors as a Denver staffing agency in 1979, the “Baby Boom Generation” was cementing its impact on American workforce culture. Denver employers were identifying hiring processes and company culture dynamics that attracted and retained top talent from that generation. Ten years ago, “Generation X’ers” started to leave their mark. Today, we observe companies undergoing the most substantial shift in decades, as a new brand of young adults, called “Millennials,” also known as Generation Y, join the workforce.

Millennials Will Account for More Than One-Third of the Workforce

According to a December, 2013, Forbes Magazine article, Millennials will account for more than one-third of the American workforce. “At some companies,” the article advises, “like Accenture and Ernst & Young, they already account for over two-thirds of the entire employee base.”

Millennials Currently Make Up 27% of the Adult Population

A March, 2014, Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends study defines “Millennials” as people born after 1980 and age 18 to 33 in 2014. They currently make up 27 percent of the adult population. For comparison, the study quantifies “Generation X”—those born between 1965 and 1980—as 27 percent of the adult population, the “Baby Boomers”—1946 to 1964—as 32 percent and “The Silent Generation”—1928 to 1945—as 12 percent.

What Millennials Want in the Workplace?

  1. Digital Conveniences
    Many employers struggle to incorporate some digital age conveniences championed by Millennials. These include a preference to “telecommute” as opposed to working in a shared office environment and varying definitions and expectations of “transparency” in the workplace.
  2. Increased Number of Touch Points Before Hiring
    At the same time, companies are finding it beneficial for all parties to increase the number of touch points before extending an offer, introduce candidates to incumbent team members in a professional environment away from the office and prioritize personality and the ability to learn and adapt as equivalent to or more important than a previously-acquired skill set.
  3. Recruiting Messaging – Social Responsibility Initiatives
    Denver employers are also emphasizing company culture and corporate social responsibility initiatives in their recruiting messages, encouraging and rewarding employee participation and even incorporating employee-driven initiatives into company community outreach and highlighting employees who lead such initiatives. 
  4. Millennials Prefer a Collaborative Work-Culture Rather Than a Competitive One
    For a generation raised with constant communication through smart phones and social media, working in collaborative, team environments is infinitely more satisfying than working alone. Even for positions, such as customer service, requiring large blocks of focused individual time, companies are complementing traditional team and department meetings with interactive digital assets such as intranets and wikis*. In addition to greater job satisfaction and higher productivity, these tools are permanently recording knowledge formerly dependent on hard media and word of mouth, and frequently lost--a cost of employee turnover.
  5. Millennials Will Eliminate the Annual Performance Review - They Want Feedback in Real-Time
    Millennials often ask "Why do I have to wait a whole year to get feedback?" What a great question, and why should anyone have to wait that long? Millennials want feedback to be given in real-time just like they receive tweets from those they follow. It's the instant gratification and learning that dirves them and pushes them to improve. To that point, Adobe took a stand last year and abolished their annual performance review system.  They now have check-in conversation that encourges ongoing feedback.  


*What is a WIKI?
A wiki is a Web site that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own Web browser. This is made possible by Wiki software that runs on the Web server. Wikis end up being created mainly by a collaborative effort of the site visitors. 

Wikipedia – A Large Wiki
A great example of a large wiki is the Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia in many languages that anyone can edit. 

Where Does the Term Come From?
The term "wiki" comes from the Hawaiian phrase, "wiki wiki," which means "super-fast." I guess if you have thousands of users adding content to a Web site on a regular basis, the site could grow "super-fast."

J. Kent Staffing is constantly examining and adapting our systems, processes and procedures to deliver the best fits for our clients, regardless of generation. This means stringent vetting of high-potential young candidates and placing them in situations providing long-term mutual benefit for them and you, our clients. 

What changes has your company made or are you considering
to attract and retain top Denver Millennial talent?

Source:  December 2013, Forbes Magazine article, Pew Research Social & Demographic Trands study,, Adobe News

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