One of the most popular questions I am asked is ‘How do we attract, recruit and retail millennials?’

Leaders understand their importance in the workplace, but often don’t understand their mindset.

It doesn’t need to be like this..

The Millennial Generation (individuals born between 1981 and 1996) are more selective than other groups of people regarding their choice of employer. Having just a job isn’t their primary employment consideration.

To many ‘being part of something special’ is much more important to them when making their decision to commit their talent and time to an organisation.

They are also acutely aware of their worth in the marketplace.

Millennial talent is in huge demand. Leaders are finding it difficult to attract, recruit and engage this valuable group.

The statistics are staggering – by 2025, over 75% of the global workforce will be millennials.

This is great news for small businesses.

For the first time in a generation or more, ambitious entrepreneurs, founders and leaders have an advantage over their counterparts in other well established medium and large-scale organisations.

Small businesses are perfectly placed to offer an alternative employment opportunity and a different workplace experience to millennials seeking employers with a proposition that offers real meaning and purpose.

Meaning and purpose are important to the millennial generation.

Forward-thinking leaders who understand this will reap the benefits. Businesses who don’t will not survive.

Attracting, recruiting and retaining talent will become the number one leadership challenge of the next decade. Overcoming this challenge will involve a new approach to doing business – more importantly it will involve a new journey for everyone connected with the 21st century organisation.

The following 10 points will help explain the significance of the new journey and at the same time demonstrate how to attract, recruit and retain the millennial talent needed to deliver future success.

1. Business success is achieved by great leadership. Think of an entrepreneur or business leader you most admire and you will find their success has involved a great journey. Great leaders create great journeys. Millennials want to be part of a great journey.

2. Journeys are important and are part of all of us. We spend most of our lives on a journey to somewhere, whether a change of location, a career path, even a new relationship. Individuals love journeys and there is no greater workplace experience than a great business journey inspired by a great leader.

3. Talented millennials actively seek out great journeys. Working in a small organisation is an intimate, challenging, exciting, rewarding and inspirational experience particularly when the business is headed up by an ambitious leader.

4. Great journeys led by a great leader involve the development of a vision for the business that inspires others to sit up and take notice. The prospect of helping the leader to ‘create something special’ is hugely attractive to others. To say in the future ‘we built that’ is a powerful motivator for many people, particularly millennials.

5. Great journeys have a clear destination point, unforeseen challenges and a real sense of adventure. Work attaches a more significant meaning to everyone connected with the business. The customer proposition, sales revenue and profitability may dominate the leader’s focus but it’s the inspirational and participative experience of the journey that helps to inspire others to deliver the day-to-day performance.

6. Very few leaders have previous experience and knowledge of the dynamics of growing a business. Many are embarking on the journey for the first time. Great journeys often involve asking others to take a ‘leap of faith’ in the leader and the possibilities which may exist for the business. Many millennials love this uncertainty. The challenge of coming up with answers to the problems on the journey will motivate them to help leaders achieve their business goals.

7. The journey won’t be easy. If it were, then every business enterprise in the world would be hugely successful. The business experience will resemble a roller coaster ride. There will be many twists, turns, surprises and unexpected challenges. It will involve hard work, although the number of people who wish to be part of a great journey never surprises me.

8. To be successful on a great journey, everyone needs to play a part. There is no room for passengers.  Disappointments will test everyone connected with the business. Team work is important. Navigating the journey with people others admire and respect is a major benefit of the journey experience.

9. The journey will involve setting and passing many milestones along the way. Celebrating each success, no matter how small it may be is an important aspect of a great journey. Leaders might not like to admit it, but their people will spend a large amount of their time at work and they deserve at least to enjoy it.

10. Great journeys live long in the memory of those who participate in them.

The journey is surprising to some people, challenging to many and rewarding to everyone. It is a dynamic and inspirational workplace experience. It is also impossible to grow a business if your people aren’t growing.

Great journeys create opportunities to increase knowledge and develop new skills – the number one requirement of the millennial workforce.

So what can you do today?

Very few leaders view the work and the workplace experience in the context of a journey. The day to day pressures of running the business often get in the way of thinking of work as anything other than an intense process of actions, activities and decisions.

This is understandable.

But viewing the business as a great journey with a clear destination will reap enormous benefits for you and others connected with your business.

Start by looking at your business through the eyes of others and ask yourself ‘are we on a journey which inspires individuals to sign-up and participate or are we just going through the motions?’ Your answer will offer an indication of your level of future success.

Great leaders create great journeys. Great leaders also use the powerful influence and experience of their journey to help realise their dreams and ambitions for their business.

The journey of each organisation is no different to any other life journey, and is just as rewarding. But only if leaders are prepared to view the day to day work experience as an adventure – as a journey.

Attracting, recruiting and retaining talent but particularly from the millennial generation is easier to achieve.

Imagine a job, any job in your organisation – working with an ambitious leader on a journey which offers meaning and purpose, challenging work, growth potential, opportunities to showcase personal talent, share knowledge, innovate, take risks, make decisions and solve problems.

Imagine a job on an exciting adventure where individuals are able to make a real difference and progress personally and collectively.

Reads like a dream job.

Not sure?

Ask a millennial.

If you wish to attract, recruit and retain millennial talent, it’s perhaps time to rethink your journey and what you offer , review your people strategy and perhaps change your leadership style and approach.

Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you.

John

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