It’s been a crazy weekend at the SHRM conference in Atlanta, and for any of you that didn’t get to attend (or like me who didn’t have the chance to actually hear many presenters while there) I’m just now able to check out some of the great presenters and speakers the conference had to offer. One speaker who caught my eye was Malcolm Gladwell, the prolific author of such books as Outliers, The Tipping Point, and Blink. While at SHRM, Gladwel talked about Millennials and what these workers expect from their careers.
It’s a subject often discussed in recruiting circles, but as usual, Gladwell brought an interesting angle to the discussion. He set up the difference between Millennial and older workers in terms of the dating world. While older workers settle in for a longer “marriage” with their careers, Millennials are content to “date” around for a little bit before settling down.
How to Decrease Average Employee Turnover
The numbers certainly bear out this view, especially those showing the average length of a job tends to be about 4.4 years. With the economy on the mend, average employee turnover is high. Greater yet, most workers will hold close to 11 jobs over the course of their lifetime. The time of settling down with a nice job and spending your lives together might be over. Instead younger Millennial employees are more comfortable dating their jobs than making a lifelong commitment.
But is this a bad thing? The conventional wisdom used to tell recruiters not to hire job hoppers. If they seem to be bouncing from job to job, there is probably a reason. Maybe they aren’t committed to their career path or maybe they have larger personality conflicts. Most likely, this view said, you’ll have to rehire soon when the candidate hops from your position. Is this view fair? And can it even be applied to Millennial workers?
Contingent Workforce and Dating Their Jobs
Millennial workers might not be ready to put a ring on their jobs, but this might not be the problem it seems. In fact, it might be good! Millennial workers polishing their video resume or hunting the job boards could actually help your company. Companies have been using contingent workforce as a way to lower payroll and employee costs like vacation, and other benefits, unemployment, and severance. For the Milennial workforce, being a contingent worker and employee might be just what the doctor ordered.
How is this good news for your company and its recruitment efforts?
Keeping Employees and Talent Engaged
Job hopping Millennials can force your company to really look at both its recruiting techniques and its company culture. Are you hiring the right people for your open positions? Is your company culture keeping workers engaged and happy? If you want Millennial workers to stay in a relationship with your company, you’ll need to evaluate what you can do better. This will make the company a better place to work for all employees.
Recruiting Generation Y Who Love Challenges
After a certain amount of time in any job, the learning curve begins to flatten. Suddenly you might notice your former superstar employee slacking off or lacking motivation. This is when many employees begin to consider divorcing their job and seeing other companies. If you don’t want to lose your superstars, it’s time to challenge them once more to greatness. Give employees more projects and responsibilities and they will rise to the task. If a Millennial (also known as Generation Y) employee feels like the position is leading them to grow in their chosen industry, they’ll be more likely to stick around.
Replace Humdrum Workers With Enthusiastic Employees
Lastly, if employees have already completed their video interview and application with another company and given their two week notice, there’s still a silver lining. Now you can replace an employee who was disengaged from the workplace with an employee who will be motivated and eager to learn. Sometimes it takes a bit of dating to find the match that can lead to that lasting marriage.
What do you think about Millennial workers “dating” as opposed to “marrying” their jobs? Would you hire a Millennial job hopper? Share in the comments!
Josh Tolan is the CEO of SparkHire, which combines a video job board and online interviewing platform to enrich interaction between job seekers and employers. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and @sparkhire on Twitter.