The Millennials are flooding into the workplace – is your company ready
Millennials currently make up 37% of the workforce and this percentage is set to surpass 50% by 2020. On that basis, what do we know about this generation, how do we attract them to the care sector and then retain them?
As a quick definition, Millennials are largely considered those born between 1980 & 1996. They’ve been weaned on digital technology and this has had a significant impact on how they absorb data and see the world. As technology is so engrained in their day-to-day lives, the way they operate interact, learn, and prefer to work, is quite different to other employees. It does sound as though we’re talking about a different species, but our younger generation do prefer a different approach to life, and work.
Previous generations value loyalty, authority and security, but Millennials reflect a desire for freedom, opportunities to make a difference, feel connected, and a need for constant feedback.
The author, Dan Tapscott, thinks employers have two options. Embrace the change or they can refuse to adapt to Millennials, stick to their old ways of recruiting and managing, reinforcing the “generational firewall” that separates other generations from this group. But, if they do, he believes they will forfeit the chance to learn from this generation. You will also turn off a key group of potential carers that could join your organisation.
The key is to think differently about how you attract and motivate this group. Ideas include:
Rethink recruitment channels: at Smith & Henderson, through our employee surveys, we ask thousands of carers each year how they heard about their job. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed a definite shift with more carers finding their job online and increasingly, through social media. Take a step back – what is your online reputation like? Are you active on social media and are you engaging with prospective new employees online? Social media provide a great platform to build authenticity and educate potential employees of what it is really like to work in care and your organisation.
Rethink training and career development: They have a mind-set of continual learning. For ambitious and talented young carers, do you have clear steps about how they can progress and develop at your company?
In terms of how you deliver your training, Millennials prefer videos and interactive content over reading paper materials. They want to feel connected and share with others – in larger organisations it may be possible to have an online forum for new carers, where they can share their experiences, exchange ideas and create a sense of belonging. This doesn’t always require a significant investment – it could involve setting up a private Facebook Group. To ensure this doesn’t become a place for complaints, it’s important to set the ground rules at the start and explain the purpose of using the online forum and monitoring this, so you can respond to questions or any concerns raised.
Flexibility: Millennials like flexible working – for many care providers, with flexible working models this could be really attractive for Millennials. Do you emphasise this in your recruitment marketing?
Communication: Everything Millennials access provides instant feedback, from an internet search, to a Wiki page. They are used to regular, constant feedback from initial objective setting to performance feedback. In your organisation, do you provide feedback throughout the year, or just through their annual appraisal?
Collaboration: This is a major need for Millennials. They collaborate online in chat groups, play multi–user video games, use email, and share files just for fun. As a result, they influence each other through this type of culture. Bring this into the workplace and let them help other employees in using new technology. Show you value their opinion and where possible, involve them in decisions that affect them. There may even be “pet” projects you can involve them, alongside their day-to-day care responsibilities.
Finally, everyone can learn through setting clear expectations, working with each other and sharing knowledge and experience. Don’t let age be a gap; see it as an opportunity to share and learn from each other!
Steven Frost is the Founder and CEO of Smith & Henderson. Leading care providers like Home Instead Senior Care and Right at Home rely on Smith & Henderson to help them measure and improve employee engagement, retention and client satisfaction. In January 2016, Smith & Henderson launched the Best Employers in Care Awards, based on feedback from thousands of carers. The vision is to recognise the best care providers to work for and provide unique insight to help all care providers engage their carers and improve retention. For more information, visit www.bestcareemployers.co.uk
If your organisation requires any temporary front line care staff, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with AJ, and let us help you manage and balance your staffing needs in the care sector by supplying the best candidates.