How SMEs can attract and retain the best millennial talent

How SMEs can attract and retain the best millennial talent

In less than ten years, millennials will make up three-quarters of the workforce.

However, a recent Vodafone UK study found that less than one in ten SMEs find it “very easy” to attract millennials.

Speaking to Executive Grapevine, Phil Mottram, Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, gives his three tips on how SMEs can attract and retain the best millennial talent, which can be seen below.

1. Find millennial talent online

“In order to get noticed by the best millennial candidates, SMEs need to first ensure their job opportunities can be found where this hyper-connected generation are looking: online. According to Vodafone’s ‘Here Come the Millennials’ report, 64% of millennials use an internet search to find a job. Only a third of SMEs have registered with online recruitment agencies, and just 43% of smaller businesses have their own website, so the need for SMEs to boost their online presence and be discoverable through online job searches is clear.

“SMEs would also benefit from using social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn as part of their recruitment strategy. Nearly a third (31%) of millennials use LinkedIn to find a job, so by creating a LinkedIn page and promoting job opportunities through either free posts or paid-for job advertisements, SMEs can improve their chances of finding  the right candidates.

“It is also important to tap into millennials’ entrepreneurial spirit and desire to keep learning by promoting the development of technical skills in job postings.  By doing this, smaller businesses can ensure they stand out from their larger counterparts."

2. Flexible working is key

“Millennials’ ambition and desire to expand their skillset in the workplace also means they are more likely to move on quickly if their expectations are not being met. In fact the average period of time a new graduate stays with their organisation is two to three years as they become restless and begin to search for new career opportunities. By comparison, their more experienced colleagues tend to stay with an organisation for an average of five to 10 years. To help mitigate this and encourage millennials to stay with a company longer, considering what motivates them becomes more important.

“A key motivator for millennial workers to stay with an organisation is through implementing lifestyle benefits such as a positive working culture and a good work-life balance. In fact, these factors outweighed a high salary, according to Vodafone’s research. A third of digital natives said they would look for a new job solely to improve their work-life balance.

“Providing flexible working options can help strike this balance by enabling employees to work in a way that best suits them and the job they do, whether that is working from the office or a café, or working flexible hours. Two-thirds of millennials looking for their first job want to be able to work flexible hours while 32% want to be able to work from home."

3. Aligning workplace culture with the millennial mindset

“Millennials have grown up using Facebook and WhatsApp on a daily basis and are more likely to collaborate with their colleagues using ‘newer’ technologies such as social networks, instant messaging apps (for example, Microsoft Lync) and online meetings.

“Providing millennials, and more experienced employees, with these technologies plus a mobile device, a secure network and access to information gives them the freedom to work and communicate in a way they are used to.  As a technology-driven generation that believes in flexible working and virtual communication, it is vital SMEs provide these capabilities if they are to attract and retain millennials.” 

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