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Recruiting Millennials - Building for the Future.

13/02/2018 at 09:51 AM

by Dr David Barkel

Recruiting Millennials - Building for the Future.

A lot is spoken of the skills gap in the chemicals industry in relation to recruitment and talent management. One reason for this is a combination of companies downsizing during the economic slowdown thereby losing experienced people, coupled with the chemical industry appearing to be less attractive for new recruits.

So the key question for companies is how to attract and retain good people in order to fill this skills gap. Looking at the target age range it is the Millennials (or Generation Y) that the industry needs to attract more effectively; these are people born between 1980 and 2000.

So who are these Millennials? They are typically well educated, driven and highly ambitious. They are more entrepreneurial in spirit than previous generations, valuing freedom and flexibility; asking for forgiveness rather than permission is a common trait! They are of course technology driven and can be found constantly on their smart phones and tablets. Well this all sounds good, and of course it is if you know how to attract and retain this talent.

Firstly your company needs to be very visible in all forms of Social Media. Do you have a LinkedIn page, a Facebook presence and a regular Twitter feed? These are the ways that Millennials will research your organisation, so these need to be consistent with your website. Make sure the companies’ values are clear and well stated in all media outlets. If your company is involved in community work and there is an opportunity to get involved then make this very visible.

Research has shown that this generation prefers the rigorous and tough style of selection, but paradoxically the interview itself should be informal and less structured. The whole selection process should be well communicated and fast, as Millennials typically get impatient quickly.

The opportunity for growth in the role is important, not only in job dimension, but also growing overall skills and knowledge and as an individual. Do make sure that your training and development initiatives are relevant and very clear to prospective candidates.

So how do you retain these talented people once they have joined? Bear in mind that people are no longer seeking careers for life in one company. You are working against a natural tendency for people to change jobs more frequently. Consider this in your succession planning so as to allow for a flow of people in, through and out of the organisation.

This generation craves feedback so do make sure this is given informally and on a regular basis. Although formal appraisal can be retained, what is much more valued is regular contact and discussion around performance.

Millennials tend to prefer not to work in a visible hierarchy, and prefer open structures where they can explore options. Think about the physical structure of your work environment. Make these open, with opportunities for informal hot desking, and create collaboration areas rather than formal meeting rooms. Encourage challenging of the status quo and foster new ideas as they emerge.

Finally do consider coaching for senior managers on how to interact with this generation more effectively. Open communication between energetic younger people with new ideas and experienced older hands has always been a goal worth striving for!

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